Richard "Dick" Pelz died suddenly at his home in Seattle, Washington on Tuesday, December 17, 2013. He was 90 years old.
Pelz was born in Evanston, Illinois. He completed his undergraduate studies at Northwestern University
and received a Law Degree from the University of Chicago where he met his future wife, Mary Kellogg. A World War II
veteran with the Army
Air Corps, Pelz was one of the first Americans into Paris when the Nazis left in 1944.
In 1953, Pelz was appointed Legislative Director to Washington State Democratic Congressman Don Magnuson. He transitioned from there to a 25-year career with the federal government in Washington, D.C. Pelz held posts at the Department of the Interior under Secretary Stuart Udall, and as Assistant Solicitor for Water and Power at the Department of Energy (DOE). He was a strong advocate of policies to provide publicly owned utilities low-cost power generated by federal dams and was an expert on federal power law. He retired from the DOE in protest in 1986 when then-President Ronald Reagan proposed the sale and privatization of the federal power administrations, including the Bonneville Power Administration.
Pelz loved camping and the out of doors and was a passionate environmentalist. He served on the Montgomery County Juvenile Justice Commission and volunteered as a mentor with CASA of Maryland for many years. Other interests included playing basketball into his sixties and singing in the church choir. Pelz was one of the founding members of Pilgrim Church in Wheaton, Maryland in 1961, and continued his service there in many capacities, including writing its constitution. In 2005, Pelz and his wife moved to the Horizon House Retirement Community in Seattle, Washington, where he continued his civic activism.
Pelz is survived by his wife of 66 years, Kelly Pelz, and their five children: Mary (Mike Butler) Pelz of Silver Spring; Ruth Pelz, Dwight (Beth Brunton) Pelz, Janet (Bob Koplowitz) Pelz of Seattle, WA; and Dr. Robert (Sarah Case) Pelz of Eugene, OR. He is also survived by a brother, Ed Pelz of New York, nine grandchildren: Erika, Darcy, and Kelly Pelz-Butler of Silver Spring; Anna Pelz and Tom Case of Eugene; Andy Pelz, Karen Bloom, Casey Pelz and Matthew Koplowitz of Seattle; and great-granddaughter Mabel Kelly Bloom of Seattle.
A memorial service in his honor will be held at Pilgrim Church in Wheaton, Maryland December 28 at 3 p.m. All contributions in his name can be given to Pilgrim Church.