Rudolf John Schleich (92) passed away peacefully after a long illness on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 at The Meadows in Dallas, Pa. Dr. Schleich was born in Dingilfing, (Bavaria) Germany, on May 11, 1926 to George Schleich and Anna Wiesmueller Schleich. He immigrated to this country when he was a toddler and arrived with his mother to Ellis Island, New York. The family later settled in Buffalo, New York. He graduated from Pine Hill High School and enlisted in the Army and served in Italy as an interpreter for German Prisoners of War during World War II. He was an officer of the 10th Mountain Division. Following his military service he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in History in 1950 from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. He later earned his Master of Arts Degree in History from The State University of New York at Buffalo. In 1968 he earned his Doctor of Philosophy Degree in European History from Fordham University in New York City. He was awarded a prestigious Fulbright award for his foreign research travel in 1954 and traveled primarily in Germany and Austria.
On August 25, 1951, Rudolf Schleich married Johanna Elfrieda Gradl in the Church of The Most Holy Redeemer in Buffalo, New York. In 1957, Rudolf joined the King’s College faculty as an Assistant Professor teaching history. He along with his wife Johanna and two young daughters settled in the Oak Hill Community in Dallas, Pa. In 1968, he became the new Chairman of the Department of History and Government at King’s College. In 1969, he was appointed Academic Dean of King’s College and served in this capacity for six years. He returned to the classroom as Professor of History and later served as President of the Faculty Council. Over his many years at King’s College, he served as the faculty advisor for numerous Student Organizations and Clubs including: The Men’s and Women’s Glee Clubs, The Car Club, and The Herodians. He was a member of The Delta Epsilon Sigma Honors Society. He was a well-known professor who was remembered for his rigor and excellent teaching. For his loyalty and meritorious service to the King’s College Community he was inducted into The Christi Regis Society.
Dr. Schleich was an avid supporter of the ballet and served on the board of The Ballet Society of Wyoming Valley and Ballet Northeast and performed in the annual Nutcracker performance at the Darte Center at Wilkes University. He was very athletic and enjoyed swimming, long distance running, basketball and racket ball. He was a faithful member of Gate of Heaven Catholic Church in Dallas, Pa. where he wrote the first history of the parish for their twenty-fifth anniversary and he was a member of The Guardians of the Redeemer.
Dr. Schleich was preceded in death by his wife, Johanna (October 26, 2014), an infant son, a grandson, Christopher Patchner and a son in law, Peter Degnan.
He is survived by five daughters and their families: Dr. Lisa Patchner (Dr. Michael Patchner) Indianapolis, IN, Katherine Medeiros (Manuel Medeiros) Little Compton, R.I., Kristin Degnan-Boonin (Dr. Al Boonin) Harvey’s Lake, PA, Lauren Gentilesco (Marc Gentilesco) Mountaintop, PA, and Maria Engen (Chad Engen) McDonald, PA. Rudolf is also survived by eight grandchildren and one great-grandson: Sarah and Hannah Medeiros, Maria (Patchner) Hopkins, Zachary and Joshua Gentilesco, Julie Degnan, Marlena and Matthew Engen and Braydon Hopkins. He is also survived by his brother Carl Schleich of Port Charlotte, Florida and family.
Special thanks to Dr. Alan Boonin, the nursing staff at Village at Greenbriar, Highland Park, Associated Family Home Care and the Meadows. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Gate of Heaven Parish, 40 Machell Ave, Dallas, Pa 18612.
Visitation will be Sunday November 11th from 6 to 8 P.M. at The Richard H. Disque Funeral Home, 2940 Memorial Highway, Dallas, PA and a Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday November 12th at 10:00 A.M. from the Funeral Home and 10:30 AM at Gate of Heaven Church in Dallas, PA. Interment will be in Mount Olivet Cemetery.
We mourn the loss of “opa” but know in our hearts that he is reunited with Johanna and many members of the Gradl and Schleich families as they experience eternal peace with love in the presence of God.