A Crothersville Fixture Goes To Rest

by Curt Kovener

To the non-longtime natives, he had a name that was spelled somewhat funny and pronounced with many variations. But Richard Schlueter didn’t let his German heritage name interfere with his local involvement.
For nearly 40 years the clothing and dry goods store he ran was a fixture in Crothersville. His father, Harry ran it for decades prior to that. For the more recent immigrants to Crothersville, Schlueter’s was located on the corner of Main Street & US 31 where the Crothersville Library is located today.
Richard closed the store in 1989, one of the last remaining old-time stores along US 31 in Crothersville’s business hey-day…the time before the I-65 by-pass was built.
Richard Schlueter was a local businessman and he gave back immensely to his community. He was a charter and life-long member of the local Lions Club—a chronic leading salesman in the club’s holiday fruit sales— and one of the original organizers in 1976 of the Crothersville Red, White & Blue Festival.
I knew Richard because we attended the same church. Those of us who know him could always count on him for a laugh with his corny sense of humor and infectious laugh.
Richard, and his son, Doug, were active behind the scenes in local Republican politics but never allowed their GOP leanings to impact friendships. In fact, they had fun with it.
I recall the first year all voters were required to show a photo I.D. before being allowed to vote. As I entered the local polling place, Richard asked me for my I.D.
“Dadburnit, Richard. You see me every Sunday in Church. Your boy and I take up the offering and serve you communion. You saying you don’t know me?” I asked showing my disdain for the lunacy of the new law.
“But it’s the law, Curt. You got to show me your I.D. or I can’t let you vote,” Richard said almost apologetically.
He was a fixture with the Red, White & Blue festival for over 30 years handling the organization of the carnival, one of the big attractions for the local festival. It was Richard’s idea and mission to get rides for the kids at the festival.
And he said the reason was simple: rides attract the kids who are brought by their parents who spend the money with the local vendors.
Richard was among the biggest tightwads I have ever known. But his benevolence to local charities and his church was something he took personal but quiet pride. He especially enjoyed helping youth oriented groups particularly around the holidays.
His helpmate and bride of 49 years, Dottie, died 10 years ago. And Richard remained active in community causes until about three years ago when his son, Doug, died unexpectedly.
Richard retreated from all but his remaining family. Some of us tried to get him to get out some, which he did a few times, but I suppose life for him was just not the same.
After suffering a stroke earlier in the week, three years and three days after his son, Doug, died, Richard joined his son and wife. His funeral was held Tuesday.