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William Ludwig Richter


1921 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
William Ludwig Richter Obituary
October 6, 1921 - July 11, 2017 William Ludwig (Bill) Richter, 95, passed away peacefully on July 12, 2017. Born in Brooklyn, NY, on October 6, 1921, Bill's parents Marie and Max Richter had emigrated to the U.S. from Denmark, passing through Ellis Island. After moving to Cleveland, Ohio, for a time, the Richter family traveled to California in 1935, finally settling in Pasadena, where Bill grew up alongside his siblings Edith, Elsie, Dorothy and Don. As the oldest son, Bill assumed great responsibility in helping to support the family financially: mowing lawns, doing odd jobs and working the swing shift at the Pasadena Playhouse while attending Muir High School - even skipping his graduation ceremony because he couldn't afford to buy a suit. After high school, Bill worked building houses while attending night school to study mechanical engineering at Compton College. His big break came when we he started his lifelong career at Lockheed California Co., working first in the factory manufacturing area. For over 45 years, Bill's technical and managerial skills helped him grow as a professional, eventually leading a division of over 200 engineers - many of them PhD-trained. He was especially proud of his work developing the L-1011 commercial aircraft and, later, his service in the top secret Skunkworks division developing military technologies. Lockheed was also responsible for Bill's greatest personal achievement: winning the hand of Jean DeLong, the "prettiest girl in the room" at a Lockheed dance. Bill and Jean married in 1945 and quickly deployed together to Biloxi, Mississippi, where Bill was stationed in the Air Force. After the war ended, the couple made their home in Altadena, so they could remain close to their families. The young couple enjoyed the simple pleasures, visiting national parks and driving up the coast with friends in their (always pre-owned) convertible. While at home, Jean and Bill warmly welcomed the company of their young nieces and nephews, serving as surrogate parents on fun weekend visits. And in 1963, their dream was fulfilled when their own beloved daughter Jane was born. The family moved to Arcadia in 1972, where Bill enjoyed biking and hiking and weekly trips to take advantage of the good deals at Fedco. (Bill loved a bargain!) Throughout this time, Bill doted on his daughter and - despite his minor disappointment that she selected UCLA over USC - he was delighted when she married Steve Haderlein in 1990. He was especially overjoyed by the arrival of his granddaughters Kathryn in 1994 and Jenny in 1998. Bill lovingly cared for Jean until her passing in 1997 at the age of 73, after which he focused all of his time and attention on his "beautiful girls," who became the center of his universe. In his later years, Bill also enjoyed many dear friendships as part of Huntington Hospital's Cardiac Rehab program and as a resident of the Regency Fair Oaks. Bill is survived by his daughter Jane (Steve) Haderlein; granddaughters Kathryn and Jennifer; sister Elsie "Rick" Craig; nieces and nephews Gary Richter, Ruth Lagace, Steve Craig, David Craig, Art Tuverson, Kathy Hillyard, Kris McNamara, Anne DeLong and Jim DeLong. The family would like to thank Dr. Lori Wynstock, Dr. John Easthope, Dr. Karen Morgan, Dr. Arbi Ohanian, the caregivers of Heart to Heart Hospice, Professional Client Care Services and the Regency Fair Oaks for their kind and compassionate care for Bill in the last few years and, particularly, the last few weeks. A graveside service will be held on Friday, July 21, 2017 at 11 a.m. at Rose Hills Memorial Park, with reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, Bill requested donations be made to Huntington Hospital Cardiac Rehab, c/o Office of Philanthropy 100 W. California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91105.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from July 14 to July 16, 2017
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