Richard Priebe, 85, passed away November 22, 2019

Richard Priebe, 85, of St. Joseph, passed away Friday, November 22, 2019 at his home.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 10:30 A.M. on Monday November 25, 2019 at Starks & Menchinger Chapel and Cremation Services, 2650 Niles Road, St Joseph. Burial will follow at River View Cemetery in St. Joseph. Friends may visit with the family on Sunday from 2:00P.M. – 4:00 P.M at Starks & Menchinger Chapel. Memorials may be made to The Chapel or Corey and Campus Crusade for Christ (Corey & Grace Priebe’s work at Those wishing to sign Richard’s Memory Book online may do so at

Richard Elmer Priebe was born at home in Eau Claire, MI on December 24, 1933 to Reinholt and Tabea Priebe. He attended Shanghai School while working on the family fruit farm until he received his GED at Benton Harbor High School. Rich married Barbara Allwardt on November 25, 1955.

Rich worked at Voice of Music and Modar in Benton Harbor for 12 years. His career at Whirlpool’s Research and Development started in 1966, spanning 30 years total. This entailed working with the Apollo Space Food Division for 8 years, contributing to the team that put a man on the moon. He spent the remaining time at Whirlpool’s material R&D laboratory.

Retiring to his farm and vineyard in Lincoln Township, he raised grapes for Welches and tended an orchard and garden which provided delicious fruit and vegetables for many friends and family. Doing it all behind the wheel of his pride and joy: his John Deere tractors.

At the age of 13, Rich prayed to receive Christ as his Savior while sitting under a peach tree on his family’s farm. His faith stayed with him from then on. He volunteered all his life in the churches he attended. He was a charter member of Napier Parkview Baptist Church in Fairplain. Most recently, he gave his time and energy as a greeter/usher for 14 years at The Chapel in St. Joseph.

Richard is survived by his wife, Barbara of 64 years; son Greg & Paula Priebe of Norfolk, NE; and daughter Pamela (Priebe) Shelton of Bonners Ferry, ID; 6 grandchildren; 10 great grandchildren, soon to be eleven; and brothers Sieg (Miriam) Priebe of Baroda, George (Linda) Priebe of Blairsville, GA, and Roger (Karen) Priebe of Stevensville.

He was preceded in death by his mother and father; father-in-law (Fred Allwardt) and mother-in-law (Liberty Allwardt), sister Dorothy (Priebe) Lake,sister Rosie Nimtz-Tanus, sister-in-law Sue Michler, son-in-law Dennis Shelton, and grandson Benjamin Richard Shelton.

Rich would like to be buried sitting on his John Deere tractor with a pair of pruning shears in his hand and a Tiger’s hat on his head. 

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