BADENHAUSEN – Richard Joseph Badenhausen, Sr., aged 83, of Franklin Lakes, N.J., died peacefully on July 31st due to complications from treatment for esophageal cancer. Born on December 28, 1936 to Dorothy (Schweinler) and Carl Badenhausen, he was the fifth of six children and grew up in Short Hills, N.J. He graduated from the Canterbury School and The Sibley School of Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University in 1961. After briefly working for Ingersoll Rand in Pittsburgh, he moved his young family to Franklin Lakes in 1966 to work for McBride Company Industrial Real Estate, helping construct office buildings throughout northern New Jersey. His next career move was to become president of Yeast Products, a company that processed brewer’s yeast from the family's brewery, Ballantine. He spent the last chapter of his professional life as owner and operator of the Columbia Racquet Club, retiring in 2014.
His childhood friend, Margot Leary, proved to be the love of his life. While Margot’s mother insisted she turn down his invitation to sleep in his tent in Quogue when he was just 7 years old, Margot rewarded his persistence by accepting his invitation to wed in 1961. Together they raised five children and three golden retrievers in a household full of sports gear, laundry and homework on the kitchen table.
Never happier than being with his family on weekends in their condominium at Stratton Mountain, Vermont, where he skied for almost 50 years (including this past February), he passed on his love of skiing to his five children, three of whom continue to ski at Stratton with their own families and two of whom live in ski towns out West. While all his children love a good powder day, Dick was forever in search of “fresh corduroy,” and counted himself lucky when he could rip down a newly groomed trail.
Standing 6’4” with a quiet demeanor and full head of grey hair at a relatively young age, “Big Bird” intimidated some strangers who did not know him well. But he was a truly kind, gentle and generous man whose smile was infectious, especially for his 10 grandchildren who adored their Opa. For their birthday each year, he would carefully craft a photoshopped birthday card personalized for the recipient.
A gifted amateur photographer whose beautiful pictures have documented Badenhausen family life for the past six decades, he also had a love of birds (and equally passionate hatred of squirrels, against whom he was always battling), Chapstick, label-makers, branded swag, chardonnay, the latest trendy gadget, and later in life, the New York Yankees. For the last seventeen years, the highlight of his summer was gathering with all three generations of his family at the Basin Harbor Club on Lake Champlain.
Dick loved being a resident of Franklin Lakes and engaged with his community as a member of the Most Blessed Sacrament Parish, the Indian Trail Club, and various town committees, including most recently the Zoning Board of Adjustment. He previously served as a trustee of St. Joseph Hospital.
Preceded in death by his parents, brothers Carl and Bob and sister Josie Conte, he is survived by sisters Helen Danforth and Peggy (Tom Kelly), his wife Margot, his children Richard (Katherine Venti) of Salt Lake City, Lauren (Charlie) Frankenbach of Lakeville, C.T., Jim (Carolyn) of Glen Ridge, N.J., Kurt (Danielle) of Ramsey, N.J. and Alix (Hans) Berglund of Edwards, C.O., his 10 grandchildren, Peter, Jack, Andrew, Will, Liza, Graham, Christian Badenhausen, Carla, Maggie, Henry Frankenbach and numerous nieces and nephews.
A funeral mass will be offered for the immediate family at St Elizabeth's Church Wyckoff. A gathering for the celebration of his life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his honor to the Stratton Foundation, http://strattonfoundation.org/dick-badenhausen
or First Descants https://support.firstdescents.org/RJB
, , an organization providing life changing outdoor adventures for young adults impacted by cancer and other serious health issues.