Richard “Dick” Sailer was born October 10, 1947, in Carroll, Iowa, to Frank and Anna Sailer. He passed away at his shop in Schleswig, Iowa, Friday, November 23, 2018, at the age of seventy-one. Dick was baptized and confirmed at St. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Carroll and grew up on a farm south of Carroll.
In 1958, the family moved to a farm east of Schleswig. Dick graduated from Schleswig Community School in 1965 and in 1966, he joined the Iowa National Guard until 1972. He worked at Midwest for about four months and then purchased and built his shop in Schleswig in 1968, opening “Dick’s Body Shop” in 1969.
Dick married Jeanne Kuehl in 1967 and was blessed with two daughters, Tracy and Stephanie. His father, Frank Sailer, retired from farming in 1976, so Dick took over the farming operation from 1976 to 1998. After Frank’s passing, to settle the estate, the Sailer family sold the farm and equipment.
Dick actually began his career in restoration when he was 14 years old. He would paint car rims for fellow classmates in the basement of his father’s house with a brush. At 15, Dick’s first vehicle paint job was his father’s 1951 Chevy pickup. It looked rough, so he sanded it and painted it in a one-car garage. It was no show winner, but for 15 years old, it looked pretty good. Then he went on to paint about 20-30 farm tractors.
Dick mostly did accident work at his shop until 1990 and then went into restoration and specialty work. You’ll never find a “retired” body man he would say. “Dicky Dent”, as he was often referred to, was a self-taught professional. He never went to trade school or worked for another shop. He always enjoyed “one-liners” because they are short, intelligent and powerful. His favorites being, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”, “Use the brain that God gave you” and “If you want to learn something, you better listen”. God gave everybody a brain, a mind, and a reason for being here, it’s our job to figure out what that is. Develop and perfect it the best you can, that will give your life meaning and satisfaction.
Dick enjoyed a challenge in his work. Many people only want to do the small and easy things, but to utilize your mind and talent, one needs to take on the “big stuff”. One gets out of something what one puts into it. The last complex challenge for Dick was the metal work on a car restoration. The rear quarter panel and wheel house assemblies, left and right, needed to be replaced because of the severe rust. They were not available after-market so Dick built the “bucks” (forms) to handcraft the panels. He needed them to look and fit right on the car, with a tolerance of 1/32 on the panels. Dick made a You Tube video, advertising the parts he made and sold them to 23 states and 2 foreign countries. Dick said it would work, and it did, even though there were some doubts. The trick to life is to ask yourself, have you achieved the goals you set, what gifts did you give the world, and how do you want to be remembered?
Preceding Dick in death were his parents; two brothers, Clarence and Joseph (died at birth); two brothers-in-law, Neil and Merle; and one sister-in-law, Agatha. Survivors include: his daughters, Tracy and husband, Steve, and Stephanie and husband, Bounnak; four grandchildren; two brothers, Paul and Leonard and wife, Mary; two sisters, Loretta and Lillian; other relatives and friends.