Richard Wayne Wetzel Jr., age 52 of West Long Branch, New Jersey, passed away suddenly on December 18, 2020. “Rick” or “Ricky” was known as a gentle giant to all his family and friends.
God broke the mold and placed Rick’s heart on his sleeve when he was born to Margaux Palmiere and the late Richard Wayne Wetzel Sr. on October 16, 1968 in Long Branch, NJ. Being the eldest brother Rick was the family’s protector and always up for lovingly tormenting his siblings Chris and Nicole throughout their childhood and beyond. Nicole was often on the receiving end of Rick’s humor. Rick held family close to his heart and fiercely loved and adored his mother as well as those around him unconditionally. Rick also loved, respected and learned so much about family from his stepfather Paul who was a wonderful father figure for over 30 years.
Being known for only giving those he loved a hard time, Rick would fiercely protect his family and friends. Rick instinctively had the back of the “little guy” or “underdog”.
Passionate about sports and the outdoors, Rick wrestled in high school and went on to play college football. He enjoyed life on his bike. Downhill mountain biking was one of his favorite things to do. And he was a loyal NY Giant fan to the end.
It is without doubt Rick held his greatest achievement as his daughter Emma Jean Wetzel. He would move mountains to be the best father in the world and always supported her in everything she did. He was an insanely proud dad, and you’d always catch him cheering her on during volleyball matches. He loved cooking and traveling to Scotland to visit his family. During their last Scotland trip in 2019, he truly enjoyed sharing the culture with his daughter Emma as they followed the Harry Potter trail.
Later in life, he met his great love, Su Whitaker and her daughters Olivia and Isabella filled his heart even more. He relished every second of their presence and looked forward to cooking with his girls, fire pit nights, hikes, beach days and many bike rides.
Always smiling, Rick lit up every room he entered. In most photos taken of Rick he incorporated his signature “I LOVE YOU” in sign language.
Rick was a dedicated and loyal employee of Atlantic Plumbing for the past 10 years as an IT Specialist and Purchasing Agent. He touched everyone around him.
Rick is survived by his mother Margaux Palmiere and stepfather Paul Palmiere of West Long Branch; his beloved daughter Emma Jean Wetzel of Mahwah; his loving partner Su Whitaker and her daughters Olivia and Isabella of West Long Branch; his brother Christopher and his wife Jill and nieces Madison and Chloe of Tinton Falls; his loving sister Nicole A. Wetzel of Red Bank; Uncle Samuel and Virginia Wetzel; Aunt Cathy Wetzel Dilione; Aunt Liz Scott and Uncle Felix Baguchinsky; Uncle Paul & Cathy Begg and his many cousins in the US & UK. In addition to many countless lifelong friends.
All are welcomed to attend a socially distanced visitation held on Sunday, December 27 from 1- 4 pm at the Damiano Funeral Home, 191 Franklin Ave. in Long Branch. Family and friends are asked to go directly to St. Jerome Church in West Long Branch on Monday for a 10:30 am Funeral Mass. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to: The Emma Jean Wetzel College Fund, C/O Margaux Palmiere, 200 Forest Street Apt. 135J, West Long Branch, N.J. 07764.