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Funeral Services For ‘Rich’ Niemann Sr. Planned Oct. 6

Foods Niemann
Richard Henry “Rich” Niemann Sr.

Niemann Foods Chairman Emeritus Richard Henry “Rich” Niemann Sr., 91, of Quincy, Illinois, died on Sept. 25, 2022, at his home. 

There will be a Catholic funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Oct. 6 at the Church of St. Peter, 2600 Maine St. in Quincy, followed by private graveside services at Calvary Cemetery. In lieu of visitation, a celebration of Mr. Niemann’s life will be held from noon-3 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Connie Niemann Center for Music at 1909 N. 18th St., Quincy University. Family and friends are invited to attend.

Mr. Niemann will be remembered as a loving and dedicated husband, father and son. His legacy includes his reputation as a hard-charging, successful entrepreneur, engaged in the formation and operation of Niemann Foods Inc. and many other businesses, as well as that of a lifelong, devout Catholic.

Born Feb. 18, 1931, he was the son of the late Ferdinand and Antoinette (Heckenkamp) Niemann. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and from Quincy College, now Quincy University, with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. While at Quincy College, he played baseball for four years.

On Oct. 6, 1951, he married Constance M. Volm, which was the result of his “love-at-first-sight” while they were attending Notre Dame High School. 

The couple had eight children: Linda M. Ebbing, Constance A. Wheeler, Richard H. Niemann Jr., Daniel M. Niemann, Ted M. Niemann, Christopher J. Niemann, Margaret M. “Peggy” Guse and Amy E. O’Keefe. All survive with the exception of Constance A. Wheeler.

His mother died when he was 13, and Mr. Niemann relied on his dad and his sisters, Mary Shankland and Catherine Johnson, to fill that void. While growing up, he was also close to his brother, Ferd Niemann Jr.

Mr. Niemann was introduced to the family retail and wholesale grocery store businesses at an early age. As a grade schooler, he would often accompany his dad on visits to Niemann Brothers (and later Food Center) grocery stores. He first began to work at Niemann Brothers Wholesale Grocers at age 12.

During his Quincy College years, he and Connie began to raise their family while he played college baseball, worked at Niemann Brothers Wholesale Grocers on North 3rd Street, in Quincy, and was engaged with his dad and brother in developing and operating Niemann Pony Farm, a Shetland pony business. 

After graduation, he managed Niemann Brothers Wholesale Grocers until 1969, at which time his dad died and he became president of Niemann Foods Inc., known at that time as Quincy Foods Inc.

Mr. Niemann acquired from his father an interest in other family businesses, including the Mississippi Grill restaurant and Sinclair gas station, both located in West Quincy, Missouri, and the Colonial Inn in East Hannibal, Illinois.

After the death of his father, Mr. Niemann and his brother, Ferd, purchased the balance of the Niemann Foods’ stock from other extended family members and sold their interests in the restaurant and gas station. 

This opened the door to enable Mr. Niemann to expand Niemann Foods (known as Quincy Foods at that time). He focused his attention on the Niemann Foods grocery stores and ceased the grocery warehouse operation, converting the grocery business into a profitable, retail grocery business and planning to expand the number of locations throughout the Midwest.

This goal was accomplished over more than 50 years under his involvement as president in 1969, chairman and CEO in 1994, later as chairman, and, most recently, as chairman emeritus of Niemann Foods, most of which was in conjunction with the substantial efforts of his sons, Rich Niemann Jr., as president and CEO and, later, chairman; and Chris Niemann, as EVP and CFO. 

Today, Niemann Foods Inc. operates 130 retail stores in five states, including Harvest Market, County Market, Save-A-Lot, Price Cutter and ValuCheck grocery stores, as well as Haymaker convenience stores, Pet Supplies Plus stores, Ace Hardware stores, Perk Coffee Co. and Little Caesars pizza restaurants.

Throughout his retail store business career years and while rearing a family, he was involved in myriad volunteer and professional organizations and charitable activities. Among these, he served as vice chairman of Food Marketing Institute, on its board of directors, as well as chairman of FMI FoodPAC, chairman of the Illinois Food Retailers Association and on the board of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. 

In 2006, he, along with his sons, Rich Niemann Jr. and Chris Niemann, established the Niemann Foods Foundation, benefitting children and their families throughout all the markets served by Niemann Foods’ retail stores.

He was recognized as the “Illinois Retail Merchants Association Retailer of the Year” and the Illinois Food Retailers Association’s “Food Industry Leader of the Year.” He also received the National Grocers Association’s Spirit of America Award and Food Marketing Institute’s Sidney R. Rabb Industry and Community Service Award. 

In addition, he was inducted into the Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame and received its Parker S. Gates Industry Leader Award. 

Mr. Niemann also received Quincy University’s Alumnus of the Year Award and an honorary doctorate degree from Quincy University. He and Connie Niemann received the Quincy Notre Dame Band Award, the Quincy Catholic Elementary Schools Foundation’s Friend of Catholic Education Award and the Catholic Charities Distinguished Service Award. In memory of their late daughter, they established the Connie Niemann Wheeler Scholarship Fund at Quincy Notre Dame.

He also was involved in many charitable fundraising campaigns.

Always mindful of giving-back to the community, the couple – in conjunction with the Niemann Foods Foundation – partnered with Quincy University to establish the Connie Niemann Center for Music in 2013.

His main family emphasis, on a daily basis, was Connie’s and their children’s (and later their extended family’s) health, welfare, happiness and success. He loved spending time with his family.

Mr. Niemann enjoyed world travel with grocer trade organization members, as well as with his daughter and son-in-law, Peg and Randy Guse. In his later years, he could be found teaching his grandchildren how to ride a pony, celebrating their birthdays and having a treat with them after a swim in the family pool.

His legacy includes the example he set in showing love and respect for Connie which, along with his strong Catholic faith, were the foundation for an exemplary 70-plus years marriage. In that same vein, he stressed the importance of family and showed that love and respect in relation to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

As a businessman, he will be remembered for his mental toughness regarding his willingness to take calculated business risks, willingness to employ his strong work ethic in accomplishing the goals associated with such risks and endless curiosity. He will also be remembered for his integrity and living life to its fullest, not taking anything for granted.

Mr. Niemann is survived by his wife, Connie; children, Linda (Steve) Ebbing, Rich (Susie) Niemann Jr., Dan (Angie) Niemann, Ted (Suzanne) Niemann, Chris (Tammy) Niemann, Peggy (Randy) Guse, Amy (Patrick) O’Keefe and son-in-law, Paul (JoJene) Wheeler II; as well as grandchildren, Dr. Jonathan (Dr. Devon) Ebbing, Abigail (Matthew) Klarner, Matthew (Erin) Ebbing, Jessica (Brett) Gerig, Paul (Dana)Wheeler III, Audrey (Andy) Hermsmeier, Rich (Heather) Niemann III, Brad (Jenna) Niemann, Andrea (Brian) Doellman, Doug (Erin) Niemann, Lisa (Adam) Hemmen, Ashley (Robbie) Mayfield, Mark (Lauren) Niemann, Scott (Amanda) Niemann, Genevieve (Max) Miller, Celeste (Joseph Gobble) Niemann, Angelica Niemann, Elizabeth (Chris) Dreste, Dr. Adam (Cathy) Niemann, Eric Niemann, Caroline Niemann, Lindsay Cardosi, Christopher Cardosi and Alex Cardosi; and 39 great-grandchildren.

In addition to his daughter and his parents, he was preceded in death by his siblings, Catherine Johnson, Mary Shankland and Ferd Niemann Jr.

Memorial contributions may be made to Quincy University or Quincy Notre Dame. Contact Duker & Haugh Funeral Homes, [email protected], for additional information.

For more information, visit mycountymarket.com.

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