Richard William “Rich” Cavalar, 88, passed away Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019.
Rich was born March 31, 1931, to Otto and Lena Cavalar in Columbia Falls, joining the world with his older brother, John. Rich and John took excellent care of each other through their lives and had an indescribable brotherhood with a close bond.
Richard fell madly in love at a young age to the (Cutest girl in middle school), Margery “Pudgie” Peck. They were married on July 23, 1949. They began a lifetime of adventure that lasted nearly 60 cherished years, until her passing in 2008.
Rich graduated from Columbia Falls High School in 1949. He immediately went to work as a “bellboy” at the Hungry Horse Dam. Later, Rich began working for Plum Creek Lumber Company as a sawmill worker in Columbia Falls. During their time in Columbia Falls, Pudgie and Rich had three beautiful and healthy children, Marilyn (1951), Rick (1953) and Steve (1956). Rich worked hard at Plum Creek to provide for his growing family, and D.C. Dunham, the owner of Plum Creek, noticed. Mr. Dunham was so impressed by Rich’s work ethic he gave him an opportunity to help build the new lumber mill in Pablo. In 1959, Pudge and Rich packed up their kids and moved to Polson. Rich quickly became the manager of the shipping department of Plum Creek in Pablo. Not long after moving to Polson, Michelle, their fourth and last child, was born in 1961.
Rich and Pudge were always the type to open their hearts, arms, and home to those in need. They fostered a friend of Rick’s during their high school years because his parents had abandoned him. They also, opened their home to family members and their friends to stay the weekend, summer or whenever needed.
Richard was a sports fanatic. He coached basketball and Little League baseball for several years. And many of his children followed in his footsteps for the love of sports. Rich played countless rounds of golf with Pudgie at the Polson Bay Golf Course, which they lived next to. Rich was able to retire in 1986 after spending 33 years with Plum Creek Lumber Company. He then took a part-time job and worked for Polson Bay Grocery and took care of the car wash. Rich and Pudge were always a team in everything they did, from bowling, golfing to gambling in Las Vegas. In his later years he cherished time with his exercise buddies at the Salish Kootenai College gym. After his bypass surgery Rich stated it was his good friends that kept him going for another eight years.
Rich undoubtedly had a big heart, and as his heart began to fail him, he wanted to be sure and thank everyone who has helped him throughout the years following Pudgie’s passing and his bypass surgery. He Especially wanted to thank all his workout friends at the SKC gym, saying, “I know they were trying to kill me but somehow kept me alive.” He thanks Dr. Coutinho and all his staff. Rich also wanted to thank everyone who helped him at Plum Creek Lumber especially D.C. Dunham, who he thought was a great leader and employer. He thought Plum Creek was a great company to work for. He also wanted to thank his amazing neighbors; they were always checking up on him and that meant the world to him.
Some words from Rich: “I was not a rich man or a poor man, but I hoped and prayed I was a good man.” “I had a blessed life! I have had some regrets, too few to mention. I had an amazing and beautiful wife. She was my motivator and we were a great team.” “The most important things in life are faith, family, friends and health: and, believe me, the power of prayer.”
Rich was preceded in death by his wife Margery “Pudgie” Peck Cavalar, and his parents Otto and Lena Cavalar.
He is survived by his brother John “Bunky” Cavalar; his daughters Marilyn (Dr. Ted Laine, Andrea and Derek) and Michelle Hayes (Arnie, Britney and Scott); his sons Richard “Rick” Cavalar (Marla, Shelbi and Sara) and Steven Cavalar (Angela, Tony and Nick); and his 13 beautiful great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held for Richard at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Elks Lodge in Polson.
“God saw you getting tired and a cure was not to be. So, he put his arms around you and whispered, come to me. A golden heart stopped beating, hard-working hands at rest. God broke our hearts to prove to us, he only takes the best!”
Messages of condolences may be shared with the family online at www.lakefuneralhomeandcremation.com. Arrangements are under the care of The Lake Funeral Home and Crematory.