Richard Mathieu

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MATHIEU, RICHARD DETWILER Professor Emeritus, United States Naval Academy Richard Detwiler Mathieu, 87, of Ginger Cove in Annapolis, Md. died April 4, 2014 at the Anne Arundel Medical Center. Richard Mathieu was born June 23, 1926 in Trappe, Pa. to the late Percy and Gertrude Mathieu. He graduated from Collegeville/Trappe High School in 1944 and from 1944 until 1946 ,served in the U.S. Navy as an aviation ordinanceman. While attending Pennsylvania State University, he earned a B.S.(1952), M.S. (1954) and Ph.D. (1961) in Aeronautical Engineering. At Penn State he developed and taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate aerospace courses, introduced digital computer techniques to complement teaching methods, and was a senior consultant to leading aerospace firms. In 1961, he joined the Space Science Laboratory of General Electric's Missile Space Division in King of Prussia, Pa. where he was the Supervising Engineer for the Re-entry Systems Department. In 1965 Dr. Mathieu began 37 years of service at the U.S. Naval Academy. A gifted teacher and administrator, he profoundly shaped the Naval Academy that exists today in a variety of leadership roles. His service began as the chair of the newly approved program in aerospace engineering. In 1967, he was appointed Senior Professor of the Engineering Department. In 1970 he undertook at 14-month assignment on the staff of the London Branch of the Office of Naval Research as a Liaison Scientist. In 1971 he was appointed the first Director of Research at the Naval Academy overseeing faculty and midshipmen research activities. He was appointed as Associate Dean in 1980, and in 1985 was elevated to the Vice Academic Dean serving as the principal assistant to the Academic Dean for the leadership and management of academic programs. Dr. Mathieu was a longtime supporter of Navy Athletics. In 1989 he was appointed the Naval Academy's Institutional Athletic Representative with responsibilities for overseeing NCAA rules and ensuring that athletes maintain the rigorous academic standards the academy requires. He was appointed to serve as the Faculty Representative for Football in 1998, and served in both these roles until his retirement in 2002. 'Dick' had a positive influence on the lives of many people. The Mathieu home was open to generations of Midshipmen seeking a 'home away from home'. He and his wife Doris were dedicated boosters at Navy athletic contests. Most importantly, Dick enjoyed spending time with family and close friends. He shared a love for the outdoors including the beach, boating and gardening. In 1996 Dr. Mathieu was awarded the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award for 'exceptional professional ability, initiative and loyal dedication to duty'. When he retired in 2002 at age 76, he received the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award and was recognized by the Navy Times as the last World War II veteran on an academy staff. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Doris Graber Mathieu; daughter, Lynn Mathieu Venuto and her husband Peter of Greenville, S.C., grandson Daniel Venuto of Austin, Texas, wife Laurie, great grandchildren Jake and Josh, grandson Matt Venuto of Greenville, S.C., and granddaughter Kate Venuto of Greenville, S.C.; daughter Ann E. Mathieu and husband Paul Minter of Fredericksburg, Va.; son Richard Graber Mathieu and wife Peggy of Harrisonburg, Va., granddaughter Pattie Mathieu of Raleigh, N.C. and grandson Richard Smith Mathieu of Charlottesville, Va.. A memorial service will be held at the Naval Academy Chapel on Tuesday, April 15 at 10:30 am. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, 247 King George St., Annapolis, MD 21402. Online condolences may be left for the family at

Published in The Capital on Apr. 9, 2014
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Annapolis, MD   410-263-4422
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