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In Memoriam

Richard (Rich) O. Litt

From The Muscatine Journal on Jul. 26, 2022.

Richard Otto Litt

October 5, 1946- July 17, 2022

Richard Otto Litt peacefully sailed into his next life on Sunday, July 17, 2022 in Menomonee, MI. He was surrounded by his loving family and friends who will miss his wit and companionship. Rich was born in LaGrange, IL on October 5, 1946 to Otto and Catherine Litt. He learned early on a strong work ethic was the key to a successful life. His first job was a paper boy and he was proud to be a Boy Scout in his younger years. Scouting is where his love for building things and tinkering around with everything mechanical began. He attended both Augustana College in Rock Island and George Williams College.in Williams Bay, WI, eventually settling back in the Quad Cities.

Rich's work career started out like most other young men his age, at the Caterpillar facility in Davenport, Iowa. He quickly moved into the engineering department. With the manufacturing market drop in the 70's and young children, he left Caterpillar to work for R&R Welding Supply as a Sales Representative. Rich excelled in sales. He realized his clients were people just like himself, looking for elegant solutions to solve complex problems for their welding and manufacturing needs. As more and more customers requested help, Rich began to design logic control systems and custom machinery from a small linen closet Rich converted into a library at his home in McClellan Heights, near the East Village of Davenport. Manufacturers started buying robots, eventually bringing their ideas for automation to Rich, asking for systems which gave him the idea to form Genesis Systems Group in 1983.

With the help of many talented friends and employees, Genesis Systems became North America's largest robotic arc welding work cell manufacturer. Rich and Genesis have installed robotic systems in over 42 states and 17 countries. Rich was named Iowa Small Business Person of the Year, inducted into the Quad Cities Area Hall of Fame, and served as President of the Robotics Industry Association of the US. He was a passionate sponsor of Junior Achievement of the Heartland and was honored to be inducted to the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame in 2005. He also received the Engelberger Award, the International Robotics Industry's highest honor, in 2012. Rich was exceptionally proud of the men and women who helped to make Genesis Systems into a large and ever growing community of prospering families. Rich retired from Genesis in 2009.

Rich had a great love for water, sailing, and power boats. He made many lifelong friends at the Lindsay Park Yacht Club in Davenport, Iowa. He maintained his parent's stone-and-log lake house in Pickerel, Wisconsin his entire life, always working on projects in his woodshop and enjoying time on the lake with the kids and grandkids. He loved fishing with his great friend "Big Mike" Verbruggen. Eventually Rich moved from Rapids City, IL to Traverse City, MI to be closer to family. He lived a short time at the waterfront on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia Beach, VA, where he made some good friends and commissioned a custom made yacht that he named "Resolute". Ultimately Rich settled down at The Harbour's in Menomonee, MI to be close to the local marina and his family lake house in Pickerel. Rich made frequent trips on Resolute to Fish Creek, Egg Harbor and Sturgeon Bay in Door County where he enjoyed many fish boils. He dreamed of sailing to the Caribbean on his yacht someday.

Rich's faithful crew at The Harbour's saw to it he was able to go on one more boat ride in July. Rich never gave up on anything in life. He respected those he worked with throughout his whole career. He treated the maintenance man as a friend and valuable employee just as much as the top V.P. Rich tried to learn some, grow some, and have some fun every day. He never lost his sense of humor or his subtle way of being the boss.

Rich will truly be missed by many and his legacy is woven into the fabric of the communities he served. His name will forever be recognized inside the global robotics industry as well as the Quad Cities' business community, specifically the robotic plant in NW Davenport. Rich is survived by his sister Marge Oliver. He leaves behind his children, Christiaane (Raymond) Minervini, Creighton (Margaret) Litt, and Tina (Kris) Early, grandchildren Camellia, Alex, Jacob, Rebecca, Kanan and Jadyn. He was preceded in death by wives Barbara and Linda as well as his parents and brother in law. His family would like to thank Susie Wood Lantow and Calvin Blair who were not only great caregivers, but wonderful loyal friends.





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08/01/22 07:18 PM #1    

John A. Osth


Rich was my best friend from the time we met just before Freshman year.  He and I have stayed in contact throughout the years with our families visiting each other numerous times.  Many of these visits included sailing either in the Quad Cities area or on Lake Michigan.  He approached sailing like all other efforts in life studying it in detail but never missing an opportunity to find a laugh or two.  Even a drink or two. (I know you are shoked that someone would drink while sailing).  Throughout these years he always demonstarted an ability to be creative with a flair for new technologies.  He was one of the first to apply robotics to welding and painting of industrial equipment.  He formed a company, Genesis Systems, which put together work cells utilizing robotics selling them to the major industrial players in the Quad Cities area like Deere and Caterpiller.  He then expanded his efforts and sold these robot systems to clients internationally.  His efforts were recognized when he was awarded the Engelberger Prize which is considered the Nobel Prize in robotics. But his passion was his kids and grandkids spending as much time with them as he could. Over this past 6 months while he went through various therapies including chemo, he and I talked avery couple of weeks by phone.  I can tell you that even in the end he still had his incredilble sense of humor.  He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.





08/01/22 08:51 PM #2    

Jim Scheef

Rich became a friend freshman year and remained a good friend all thru LT. Some memories include a model railroading trip to ElectroMotive (where his dad worked), numerous parties in his basement. always being amazed when he played the organ in his living room, and parking our cars side by side to watch the underwater submarine races at either a forest preserve slough or on Lake Michigan near Lincoln Park.

08/05/22 02:29 PM #3    

John D. Rauch

While I did not know Richard, he certainly has a record meriting an application to the LTHS Hall of Fame. For those of you who knew him, perhaps you would consider such an application submittal to:   

Robyne Recht
Administrative Assistant
Community Relations/Alumni
Lyons Township High School
100  South Brainard Avenue
LaGrange, IL 60525


08/07/22 02:50 AM #4    

Lawrence (Larry) D. Schulz (Schulz)

In reading Rich's obituary and John Osth's tribute, I immediately had the same idea as John Rauch.  Given his inspiring career at the forefront of robotics, an ever-evolving future technology, Rich should certainly be proposed for membership in the LT Hall of Fame.  As I was not that close to Rich, is there someone who was closer to him who call pick up the ball and contact Robyne Recht (rrecht@lths.net)? 

Larry Schulz

Poschinger Strasse 9
D-81679 Munich, Germany
Phone: 0049-89-985-984
FAX: 0049-89-9810-9488
Cell-Phone: 0049-172-811-3072
E-mail: lschulzl@aol.com (note: 3 l's in lschulzl)


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