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Richard Dean Petre Ph.D.

1933 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Richard Dean Petre Ph.D. Obituary
Petre, Richard Dean, Ph.D

Richard Dean Petre, Ph.D died suddenly from a heart attack in his home in Santa Fe, NM on May 29, 2016. He was 83 years old. Dr. Petre was born in Independence, Missouri on 1-10-1933. He was happily married to Dr. Nancy E. Perry for the last 13 years.

Dr. Petre was preceded in death by his father, Clarence Petre, His mother, Modena Harris Petre, his sister, Pamela Chaffee, and his son, Kevin Petre.

He is survived by his wife, Dr. Nancy E. Perry, of Santa Fe, his sister Donna Belshe, his daughter, Ann Priest of Las Vegas Nevada, His son, Timothy Petre of Albuquerque, His son Matthew Petre of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, his daughter Karen Petre of Las Vegas, Nevada, and his son Gregory Petre of Albuquerque.

Dr. Petre obtained a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Central Missouri and a Ph.D degree in psychology from Vanderbilt University.

After these studies, he worked at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, followed by employment at the University of Kansas Medical Center as a guest lecturer. He then moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico to become a special consultant at the New Mexico State University in the area of special education. During his tenure there, he travelled to Micronesia and flew to islands in the trust territories to help deaf children obtain special education services. He also taught courses in the area of special education.

He worked for the Albuquerque public schools for thirty years before his retirement. During those thirty years, he became a pioneer in the development of computer software to support the instruction of children with various educational disabilities. The software he developed has been used in special education programs throughout the state for many years. These programs helped many children with special needs.

Dr. Petre was not only passionate during his whole life about helping disabled children, but was also an early advocate of desegregation. During his studies for his Ph.D. degree, he protested segregation by sitting at lunch counters with his black colleagues. If service was denied, he and others would leave the restaurant in protest.

After retirement from the Albuquerque Public Schools he continued to learn new things. He attended the Santa Fe Community College and decided to pursue the study of photography. In his later years, became a talented photographer and took many pictures as he travelled the world visiting Peru, Santa Domingo, and many states within the U.S. He especially enjoyed staying healthy by eating natural foods and regularly working out.

A memorial service will be held at the Unity Church of Santa Fe on June 9 at 4:30 p.m. followed by a meal to celebrate his life.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Unity Church of Santa Fe "Home Free Fund" 1212 Unity Way, Santa Fe, NM 87506.
Published in Albuquerque Journal on June 5, 2016
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