Richard Kent Hedlund

Richard K. Hedlund, 82, of St. George, Utah and a former resident of Mt. Prospect, Illinois, passed away on January 17, 2020 due to complications from a stroke he suffered five weeks earlier.

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Rich graduated from Amundsen High School and earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University in 1960.

After achieving accreditation as a Professional Engineer and working for International Harvester and then Honeywell, Rich left his career in 1969 to pursue his passion to work for himself as a small business owner.  For the next 27 years, Rich and his partners operated seven auto parts stores in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

As a young man, Rich reached the level of Eagle Scout and obtained his pilot license.  He had a curious mind and enjoyed many hobbies through the years including handball, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, skiing, backpacking, motorcycling, camping, traveling, photography and even ice boating, for which he built his own ice boat.  He also loved to learn and talk about science, history, politics and many other subjects that interested him.

Rich’s favorite hobby throughout his life was working on any project that involved cars.  As a 16-year-old and without his dad’s full knowledge of what he had in mind, Rich disassembled the engine of the family’s Chevy because he thought a new camshaft would give it more power.  After he put it back together running better than ever, Rich was an enthusiastic “car guy” for life.  He loved working on the many fast cars he owned through the years, and building or fixing anything that required creative solutions.

In 1996, Rich sought new adventures and moved to St. George, Utah to pursue another business opportunity and to enjoy the beautiful outdoors of southwest Utah.  An avid hiker, Rich spent many happy days on canyon trails and in the back country wilderness with so many good friends.

In 2002, Rich met his dear and special friend, Alice Brown, who tirelessly and lovingly supported and comforted him through the last days of his life.

Rich is survived by sons Eric Hedlund of Highlands Ranch, CO and Todd (Jennie) Hedlund of Palatine, IL, and grandsons Jeffrey and Blake.  He was previously married to Patricia Hedlund (nee Owczarski) for 33 years, and was preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Ethel Hedlund (nee Magnuson).

A celebration of Rich’s life will take place in late March in St. George, Utah and a family memorial is being planned for the coming months in Chicago.



Second Visitation



Spilsbury Mortuary Chapel
110 S. Bluff
St. George, UT


Guest Book

5 Responses

  1. I have known Rich for nearly 20 years. We shared many trips throughout southern Utah hiking, camping and rappelling. Rich was always up for a new adventure and great company. He helped rebuild the engine on a car I restored and it ran flawlessly. I will miss him and my condolences to his family and Alice.

  2. I knew, and was a friend of, Rich from our college days at Northwestern University, where we were both Mechanical Engineering students. I especially remember after the successful Sputnik mission in 1957, we were studying together in the library, and Rich and I made a wager. He bet that man would touch the surface of the moon within 10 years (1967) and if not he would pay me $10. I kept that signed piece of paper in my wallet for years. As we all know, man didn’t make a successful moon landing until 1969; however because our paths had taken us in different directions, I didn’t see Rich again until 1995 when I was back in Illinois. I brought that 38 year old piece of paper with me and showed it to Rich. He paid up! Many more memories, but this stood out. RIP buddy.

  3. Rich Hedlund
    I was his classmate at NU, grad.1960. Rich was very intelligent mechanically, very honest and a great car & engine hobby buddy.
    We had a special project to design & build a water energy engine dynamometer at my Grandfathers blacksmith shop in Glen Ellyn.

  4. Rich was one of the most caring human beings I ever met! I worked for him and his business partner, Ron Kick, in the late 60s & early 70s. Despite my being late for work nearly every day… he somehow forgave me and kept me under his wing… Truly one of the most respectable men I’ve ever met! I actually grew to Love this extraordinary man & I will never forget his kindness & generosity! RIP MY FRIEND

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