R. Richard “Dick” Bittner - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Obituaries

R. Richard “Dick” Bittner

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Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2019 3:39 pm

R. Richard “Dick” Bittner, 90, of Pleasant Valley,Iowa, and Coronado, passed away on Feb. 23, 2019 at Sharp Coronado Hospital.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, March 3, 2019 from 3 to 7 p.m. at Weerts Funeral Home, 3625 Jersey Ridge Rd, Davenport, Iowa. A funeral service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Monday March 4, 2019 at Palmer College, R. Richard Bittner Activity and Recreation Center.

Memorials may be made to the Scott County charitable organization of the donor’s choice in Mr. Bittner’s honor. Online condolences may be expressed at by Google searching Weerts Funeral Home Davenport, Iowa.

Dick was born on Oct. 18, 1928 to Jack and Peg Bittner in Lincoln, Nebraska. His passion in life to be a banker came from his early life in Winner, South Dakota where he lived in a house with dirt floors until he was 6 years old. It was there that he and his brother Don began their first business buying rags and re-selling them to local garages. Dick graduated from that rag business to paper boy when the family move to Atlantic, Iowa in the late 1930’s. He graduated from paper boy to winding armatures when the family moved to Esterville, Iowa a few years later. 

Dick was an all-state offensive tackle for Esterville High School in 1945. He graduated from high school in 1946. Upon graduation, he enrolled in Iowa State University pursuing a degree in engineering. In the spring of 1947, he enrolled in the Navy ROTC program offered at the university.

Following college graduation, he received his commission as an ensign in the U.S. Navy. Between summer service in college and following his commission he served on the U.S.S. Iowa and the U.S.S. Neu. He attended submarine school in New London, Connecticut graduating in 1952. Upon graduation he received his commission on the U.S.S. Catfish.

While stationed in San Diego, mutual friends arranged a date between Dick and Joan Y. Angel. Joan and Dick were married on June 28, 1954. 

Law school followed. Dick graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1957 taking a job with the law firm then known as Betty, Neuman and Vanderkamp. In 1962 he became general legal counsel for Palmer College and Dr. David Palmer, personally. Around the same time, Dick became legal counsel for Harold Bechtel and First Trust and Savings Bank. He became a bank director in 1964 and Chairman of the Board in 1986. Dick served as Chairman of the Board for Banks of Iowa between 1987-1988. He remained a director of BI and its successor, Firstar Bank of Iowa until 1999. He served as Chairman of the Board for the local division of U.S. Bank from 1999 until the time of his death in 2019.

Marie H. and Harold R. Bechtel lost their only child in a tragic accident. With Dick’s help the Bechtels converted tragedy into triumph by forming charitable trusts that would benefit children, the arts, education and scientific research in the Quad Cities community, forever. Dick became Trustee of the Bechtel Trusts when Mr. Bechtel died in 1987. He remained sole trustee until January 2008, when he nominated son Jeffrey to serve as co-trustee. Dick served as Chief Executive Officer for the Bechtel Trusts between 1987-2019. In the Quad Cities Community, Dick’s name became synonymous with that of the Bechtel Trusts.

Dick was an entrepreneur, attorney, avid book reader, historian, mentor and avid rose grower, and was a frequent blue ribbon winner during the Coronado Homefront Judging. He enjoyed hunting and fishing and most of all, winning at whatever he did.

He is survived by his loving wife Joan, Sister’s in-law Lois Bittner and Rose Bittner, his four children: Kim (Tim) Montgomery, Edina, MN, Jeff (Sam) Bittner, Bettendorf, IA, Todd Bittner, Bettendorf, Iowa and Lynn Bittner von Schneidau, Santa Barbara, CA; his grandchildren Alecia, Ashley, Blake, Zach, Ellie, Nick, Jenna, Ephrim, Ethan; and great granddaughter Joelle.

He would like to pay a special gratitude of excellent service to his friends, John Shenk Jr., John Helstrom, his long time assistant Luci Oseland and sister-in-law Lois Bittner.

He was preceded in death by his parents Sylvester (Jack) Bittner and Leona (Peg) Bittner, brothers Don Bittner and Jim Bittner, sister Sally Moxley and sister-in-law Bobbie Bankston.