Richard Jerome Aylward, 80, Prairie Village, KS, passed away peacefully at home on September 6, 2011. Services will be Friday, September 9, at St. Ann Catholic Parish in Prairie Village. Visitation begins at 9:00am, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00am.
Dick was born May 29, 1931, in Kansas City, KS. He grew up in Kansas City, MO, and attended Catholic schools from grade school through college. He graduated from Rockhurst High School in 1948, and achieved his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Rockhurst College in 1952. After college, Dick spent two years in the US Navy, part of that time as an air traffic controller at US Naval Air Station Agana, Guam (1953-54). Dick and his brothers founded The Aylward Products Company, a construction supplier in Kansas City, MO. He was born a salesman, and enjoyed building a business from the bottom-up, while turning customers into lifelong friends. Dick proudly served as a member of the Circuit Court Judicial Committee (79-84), honorary director of Rockhurst College (60-84), president of Associated Construction Distributors International (78-82), and was a former co-owner of NHL's Kansas City Scouts Hockey Club (74-80). A loyal Democrat, Dick was proud to support local and national candidates.
Dick's wonderful life was defined by his faith, his family, and his friends. Dick attended daily Mass, and was always proud to be a Catholic. He counted many priests among his dearest friends and closest confidants. His faith never wavered, and he was quick to remind all to trust that "the good Lord will provide." Nothing was more important to Dick than his family. He met Gwen, his loving wife of 54 years, while she was a flight attendant for TWA. Together they raised six daughters-all of whom had individual, special relationships with the man they called "Big D." His retirement years were filled with golf outings to Blue Hills Country Club, family vacations, afternoons by the pool with grandkids, working in his yard, Chiefs & Royals games with sons-in-law, and general tinkering that kept him out of trouble. His many friends knew Dick by his big smile, his generous heart, and his classic one-liners. A life-long Kansas Citian, he kept in touch with friends from as far back as grade school, yet made new friends every day.
He was preceded in death by his sisters Kathleen Aylward Mitchell and Mary Ann Aylward Henn, and his parents, Charles L. and Dorothy B. Aylward. Richard is survived by his wife, Gwen (Scott) and their six devoted daughters: Mary Beth Cicchetti, Carol Ann Coolidge, Kathleen & Kurt Wiedeman, Maureen & Steve Wirtz, Amy & Wesley Gillingham, Emily & Dan Vogt. Richard adored his ten grandchildren: Colin Cicchetti, Carolyn Wiedeman, Bradley Wiedeman, Gregory Wiedeman, Iris Gillingham, Olivia Wirtz, Roan Gillingham, Zachary Wirtz, Peter Wirtz, and Scotty Vogt. Richard also leaves behind brothers Charles Aylward, Jr., W. Robert Aylward, and sister Jean Dunn.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to St. Teresa's Academy, St. Ann Catholic Parish, or Rockhurst High School.