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LOEFFLER, RICHARD DONALD Richard Donald Loeffler joined his beloved late wife, Barbara, on November 8, 2012. Mr. Loeffler led a rich and full life. He was born on January 26, 1925 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He attended schools John Hancock and Central High School in St. Paul. As a youth Don was heavily involved in the Boy Scouts of America; at 14 years of age he was chosen to hike "Lincoln Trail" in Illinois as an Explorer Advisor. In World War II, Don joined the navy. After boot camp he assisted teaching a class in visual communication at Hunter College, where he first saw, as he put it, "a beautiful blond navy recruit" named Barbara (something he later claimed to be a prelude to the most important event of his life). However, before he could initiate a relationship with the pretty girl, he was shipped off to serve aboard the U.S.S. Theenim, an amphibious attack vessel in support of Marine landings from Guadalcanal to Okinawa. The USS Theenim made the only capture of a Japanese vessel on the high seas during World War II. At Okinawa, Don piloted the boats that took the Marines ashore under heavy fire. After the war, Don returned to college, and obtained a B.S. in Civil Engineering at University of Minneapolis, and did post graduate studies at the University of Cal., Berkeley, where he was CHI EPSILON. In a summer, during college, he went to work at Glacier Park, Montana, where fate met up with him. The beautiful Barbara was also employed at the park. This time, he lost no time in making her his own; they were married. Don and Barbara stayed happily married until her passing earlier in 2012. In his adult life, Don was equally at ease in a management boardroom, out on a mountain bivouac, or on a musical bandstand. During his long career as a civil engineer, he was a manager, a designer, and an innovator. He worked at Great Northern Railway as a bridge designer (He never lost his love of railroads (from "N" scale to full scale) At 3mCompany, he worked in the lab to develop wide angle "scotchlite" reflective sheeting. He took the concept of a reflectorized octagonal red scotchlite on an aluminum traffic sign to the various highway departments through the USA, finally getting acceptance by the bureau of Public roads as the nationwide standard in Washington DC. While at Kaiser Aluminum Int'l he worked with Buckminster Fuller in the design and erection of Geodesic domes through the world from Honolulu to Moscow, beginning with the first geodesic dome in the USA at Palomar College, and culminating with the Epcot Center at Disneyworld. He was a member of the design team that produced Pre-stressed Concrete Railway ties and long span girders (Bart used a million of these ties and created the new world standard for railroad construction). Don also was President of Willis M Allen Co L/J, President of Pre-stress Concrete Assn., Manager of Dome Div at Kaiser Int'l., Project Mgr. at Santa Fe Int'l, and on the Board of Director's at Glacier Park Foundation, Inc. Don was an avid outdoorsman. He loved tennis, skiing and mountaineering. He climbed most of the mountains in Glacier Nat'l Park, Montana, climbed Mt. Shasta in winter, and climbed Mt. Rainer twice. He also never lost his love of the Boy Scouts and served as a Cubmaster and Scoutmaster in leading his son's troops on outdoor adventures. Later in life, Don became a professional musician. Having been taught piano by his mother at age six, he subsequently added drums and vibes to his skills. As a musician, he appeared on the Major Bowes hour in NYC. He played drums for the Carl Hoffman Band, which played listening and dancing pleasure at country clubs throughout southern California as well as jazz cruises on the high seas. He played vibes for the R.B. Swingtet, (a Benny Goodman Styles jazz combo) playing gigs from San Francisco to Palm Springs. For several years he played drums with the High Society Dixieland Band, specializing in Jazz Festivals from San Diego to Sacramento. With the band, he made guest appearances with Lionel Hampton, Clark Terry, Louie Bellson and many others. He also fronted his own band, "The Regency", playing special events in southern California. Additionally, he was affiliated with the Mesa College Jazz Dept as a community-volunteer. Don's innovative talents also were applied towards his music. He designed, built, and patented "square drums". He built a marimba out of rosewood and PVC tubing, which was donated to the Museum of Making Music. Don will be missed by his sons Brad and Brian, daughter Cynthia, his five grandchildren, Seyem, Justin, Lauchlin, Charlotte and Natalie, and by his many friends. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 1, 2012, at Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church, 17010 Pomerado Rd., San Diego, 2128, 858-487-0811. A reception will follow.

Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Nov. 23, 2012
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