Richard W. Gretz, 94, passed away on April 1, 2019 of congestive heart failure. His final weeks were spent at home in hospice care, as he wished. He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Doris Dewton of Edwards, Colorado; his brother, Herbert F. Gretz, Jr. (Shirley) of Niskayuna, New York; his three children, Joanne Gretz (Frank Bova) of Newark, Delaware; Marit Gretz of Bethesda, Maryland; and Peter Gretz (Jane Kaplan) of Boyds, Maryland; and six grandchildren, Frank Bova, Jr., Chris Bova, Jonathan Walston, Erika Walston, Hanna Walston, and Sam Gretz. His brother, John L. Gretz of Kent, Washington, preceded him in death.
Dick was born in Wayne, Pennsylvania, on July 16, 1924 to Herbert F. Gretz and Josephine Weaver Gretz, and spent his childhood there. He was an Eagle Scout. He enlisted for the draft in World War II, dropping out of college at Lehigh University after one semester to join the war effort. He served in the Army Air Corps from February of 1943 to VE Day in 1945, repairing airborne radio equipment. He served overseas in North Africa, Corsica, France and Italy. He returned to Lehigh University and graduated in 1948 with a degree in electrical engineering. He was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon. He later earned a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. For most of his career he worked for IBM as a software systems engineer, working on large projects including setting up data systems for a number of large banks, early GPS ground support systems, satellite control systems and redesign of the FAA air traffic control system.
He met his wife, Doris, on a ski trip in the Canadian Rockies in 1984. After many years working in the Washington, D.C. area, he and Doris built a home in Singletree and retired to Colorado in 1994. He spent the last 25 years living the mountain life. He loved skiing, hiking, biking, tennis, golf and more. He played the piano daily in his retirement. He was a tenor in two large choruses in Washington, D.C. and a smaller one in the Vail Valley. He was an avid reader, particularly enjoying history and biography, and was in a book club for more than 20 years. In retirement, he took up watercolors and painted many of the places around the world where he and Doris had hiked and traveled. He particularly enjoyed classical music and the Bravo! Vail Music Festival. He volunteered for the Vail Health Volunteer Corps for 15 years, and taught ESL students for the Literacy Project for many years. He also volunteered with Bravo and at the VPAC for many years. He was an active member of Vail Club 50 for 25 years, leading hiking, biking, and skiing groups until he was 85. His hospitality to visitors was legendary.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, July 13, 2019 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards. Gifts in his memory may be made to the Colorado Mountain College Foundation, 802 Grand Avenue, Glenwood Springs, CO, 81601 for the HERO scholarship fund at the Edwards campus.
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