Photography

       


Richard "Dick" Smullen

July 14, 2018

Richard ("Dick") Smullen

South Burlington - Richard ("Dick") Smullen, a beloved resident and larger than life legend of South Burlington, VT, passed away peacefully at home on July 14, 2018. Dick was 90 years young. Shortly before Dick passed, he made it clear to all that he had lived a long and amazing life, filled with love, engagement, and zest for all that interested him. He was ready to move on. Dick had endless passion and curiosity for sports, politics, current events, and most of all: people. After a conversation with Dick, you left feeling confident and positive about your future. While his tongue was sharp when scrutinizing politicians, Dick doled out nothing but support and encouragement to friends, family and budding athletes that sought his advice and counsel. His energy was abundant and infectious. A storyteller with an unmatched sense of humor, his life experiences were colorful and often mischevious. Whether playing pranks on Frank Sinatra, pitching against Jackie Robinson, or receiving "corrective advice" from Father Hesburgh under the Golden Dome, Dick kept everyone laughing and smiling. Dick accomplished many great things in life as a leader and an athlete. As class president, his senior year at Roosevelt high school in Yonkers, NY, he proudly supported the early initiatives to foster better racial and religious tolerance and integration. 

After playing baseball and graduating from The University of Notre Dame in 1949, Dick played for the Philadelphia Phillies. While in Pennsylvania, he met and married the love of his life, Rosemary ("Rosie") Znoski of Dickson City, PA. Together they enjoyed a wonderful marriage for 65 years. Dick always described Rosemary as the most beautiful woman he ever laid eyes on. Later in life, he could be heard hailing, "Rosie!!!" to join him on a phone call with a family member or friend. Dick began his lifelong love affair with the Burlington area while pitching for the Burlington Cardinals of the Old Northern League. When his ball career ended, he joined Smith, Kline, & French as a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, where he spent most of his working life. 

Family was everything to Dick. He was so proud of his five children, eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren - two more on the way! His family provided him with nothing but pride and joy. Dick and Rosie were devoted parents, always putting their children first and attending athletic events - a couple that never missed a game. This tradition continued for their grandchildren. Dickie was everyone's biggest fan. He loved attending his grandson Austin's hockey games and granddaughter Jackie's tennis matches. He conducted post game "debriefs" with out of town grandkids, praising each accomplishment and bringing wise advice and perspective in defeat. Dick's passion for sports and aspiring athletes extended well beyond his family, as he loved nothing more than supporting local athletes in achieving their dreams of playing in college and beyond. As an avid and well accomplished golfer, he enjoyed spending time with great friends at his beloved Burlington Country Club. When he could no longer swing the irons, he found great joy watching his son, Jim, compete and excel at the Club. It was not uncommon to see Dick in a golf cart following Jimmy around the course during many BCC tournaments. Dick possessed a generous heart and he regularly supported numerous charities. He never turned down a Girl Scout selling cookies and could be counted on to help at local fund raisers. Always striving to provide positive experiences for our community's youth, Dick was instrumental in efforts to put in lights at the ballfields at Burlington High School and UVM. He received a number of honors throughout his lifetime, but one which meant so much to him was a perpetual baseball scholarship established in his name at the University of Notre Dame. In his later years, Dickie enjoyed his daily routine. He spent each morning at the local hangout, Champlain Farms, where he discussed current events, politics, and sports with his dearest friends. He had nicknames for all his buddies and loved bringing his children and grandchildren to meet the guys at the "Breakfast Club". Rumor has it, Dick sang, did impressions, and made a wager or two over coffee. He then stopped at the local Hannaford's grocery store, where he rode happily in an electric cart (aptly decorated on his birthdays) and joyfully conversed with employees and customers. If you accompanied Dick, you would immediately receive a smile, and chances are, they knew all about you and that you would be coming. Dick leaves behind his beloved wife, Rosemary, son Michael and wife Traci Smullen of Sarasota, FL, daughter Kathy Campo and longtime companion, Bob Bueller of Boca Raton, FL, daughter Cindy and husband Bob Blais of Seattle, WA, daughter Barbara and husband Pete Fyles of South Burlington, VT, and special daughter in law, Chris Smullen, wife of Dick's late son Jim Smullen. He also leaves behind a sister, Lorna Troy of Newton, MA, whom he enjoyed enthusiastic political discussions and spoke so lovingly of their relationship. His older brother, Charles Cray, predeceased him. Although one of our most colorful and beloved citizens is no longer with us, Dick's spirit, vigor, and endless passion will live on. Let his life and perspective be an inspiration to us all. When we miss him, we should try to be more like him. This will fill our hearts with his light and bring joy to all we meet.

In lieu of flowers, Memorial contributions may be made to the University of Notre Dame. Please direct your gift to the Dick Smullen Grant-in-Aid in memory of Dick Smullen. Gifts may be made online at giving.nd.edu, by phone at (574) 631-5150, or by mail: University of Notre Dame, Department of Development, 1100 Grace Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556. A private friends and family celebration of Dick's life will be held in the near future.

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