Richard W. Endres


Richard William Endres was blessed, surrounded by his loving family, as he gracefully left this earthly realm to enjoy resting in the arms of his heavenly Father on Aug. 13, 2012.


The son of Raymond and Marie Endres, he was born Dec. 9, 1927, and grew up in Faribault, Minn. Following high school graduation, Dick attended St. John’s University, where he received his B.A. in English in 1949, then found work on the Patient Activities Staff at the Minnesota School and Colony in Faribault.

Dick was drafted into the Army in September 1950, earning the rank of Corporal and serving in the Korean War from 1950-52, based in Fairbanks, Alaska. Following his discharge, Dick returned to work for the mentally retarded at Faribault State Hospital, where he met nurse Jeanne Christenson.

Dick married Jeanne in Clara City, Minn., in 1954. They began their family in Faribault, and then transferred to Brainerd, Minn., in 1959 as Dick became the Patient Program Supervisor at the new Brainerd State Hospital. It was there that he began his pioneering work in the field of therapeutic recreation for the mentally retarded. Becoming firm in his belief that “the mentally retarded have the right to enjoy life to the fullest,” in 1967 Dick began creating Camp Confidence, a year-round outdoor education camp for the developmentally disabled on Lake Sylvan near Brainerd, the first of its kind in the country.

Toward that end, Dick received his Master of Education degree from the University of Minnesota in 1969. Through the success of the Camp (now Confidence Learning Center), Dick was the recipient of many awards, including the 2000 Virginia McKnight Binger Award in Human Service, the 2009 Crow Wing Human Rights Award, and being named Brainerd Citizen of the Year in 1991.

Extremely active in the community, Dick was a member of the American Legion (for over 60 years), Rotary Club, Sertoma, United Way, Eagles, Moose, and Elks, among many others. Dick was a devout Catholic, also serving on the Parish Council and as President of the St. Francis Home & School Association.

Dick is survived by daughters, Debbie, Brainerd, Minn., Kyung, Washington, D.C.; sons, Rick, Tim and Mike (Dawn), Brainerd, Minn., Patrick (Darlene) Champlin, Minn., and Jake (Laura), West St. Paul, Minn.; 13 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Marie Endres; brother, Raymond; daughter, Anna Christine; and his loving wife, Jeanne, who preceded him in death by three weeks.

His family appreciates the love, prayers and support he received during his illness and is grateful for the attentive care he received from the dialysis unit at Brainerd Medical Center. They also acknowledge the wonderful home care staff at Good Neighbor, and the work of Good Samaritan Hospice Care, who have been a great support to their family.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 17, 2012, at St. Francis Catholic Church in Brainerd. Visitation times will be on Thursday from 4-7 p.m. at Nelson-Doran Funeral Home with a prayer service at 7 p.m., and one hour prior to services Friday at the church. Burial will be in the Evergreen Cemetery in Brainerd.

In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate memorials be sent to Camp Confidence, 6260 Mary Fawcett Memorial Drive, Brainerd, MN 56401.

Arrangements by Nelson-Doran Funeral Home & Crematory.