Edwin Jerry Dietrich
E. Jerry Dietrich was called home on August 18, 2021. He was born July 14, 1926 in Shreveport, Louisiana. He attended Fair Park High School and enlisted as a Naval Aviation Cadet at 17 in 1943. He finished his cadet training at Tulane, accepted a Commission in the U. S. Marines and married his angel Adele Odom Dietrich. Jerry and Adele, with 64 happy years together, were truly one in life. Adele died in 2010. During their early married life, he graduated in the III Basic Class of the Marine Officer's School in Quantico, VA and was assigned command of a 81 mm Mortar Platoon in the Second Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Division.
Upon completion of 3 years of active military duty, he enrolled in 1947 at the University of Texas, where he received his B.S.C.E Degree in 1949. He was recalled to active duty during the Korean War in 1951, served in the Replacement Command at Camp Pendleton, and was discharged as a Captain. He received a Doctorate of Jurisprudence degree from South Texas College of Law, and was licensed as an attorney in 1958. He attended the Marine Officer's School at Quantico, VA and the Army Construction Equipment Maintenance Course at Fort Belvoir as a Marine Officer.Following UT Graduation, Jerry gained diversified experience, serving in the field one year with a large construction firm, six years with Lockwood and Andrews, Consulting Engineers, 26 years with Bernard Johnson Inc., and 6 years as President of his own consulting engineering firm. At BJI, he helped that firm grow from a staff of 30 engineers to 500 architects, engineers, and planners, with a new 4-story office building in the Galleria, and offices in Dallas, San Antonio, Atlanta, and Washington DC.
As Senior Vice President, he was principal-in-charge on many major public works and defense installations. Jerry always said he was blessed to spend a long career working with teams of architects, engineers and planners, a very honorable group of professionals. Projects in Houston and Texas included Master Plans of a dozen Texas Towns, engineers on Albert Thomas Convention Center, Jones Hall, Medical Facilities for MD Anderson and Baylor, NASA Headquarters Building 45, and local infrastructure Studies and Projects, such as Galveston Bay Water Quality Study, Gulf Coast Regional Waste Disposal Authority, designing a 66 mgd treatment plant to clean up the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay, and numerous Houston thoroughfares.(Red Bluff Road, Long Point, West T,C. Jester, Jones Road, and sections of Beltway 8). Civil Works projects included Gulf Coast Hurricane Protection Walls and Levees, Rollover Fish Pass, coastal barge canals, and Buffalo Bayou Channel Improvements.Defense and Military projects included complex nuclear weapons assembly cells and research laboratories for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, including Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, the Pantex Plant and Medina Base in Texas, and assembly cells in several other states. Projects include the Master Plans and Environmental Assessments at NAS Corpus Christi and Kelly AFB, MX Missile System; Regional Complex Master Plan of 26 million square feet of base facilities in 8 military bases in the Panama Canal Zone. His defense design team received the "Patriotic Civilian Service Award" from the Chief of Army Corps of Engineers for outstanding management of munitions plant modernization in three states.His Faith in God and in America grew from his experiences in seeing our county prepare for defense of liberty in WW II and his knowledge of the danger of weaponry in the hands of mankind. He strongly believed that our country's great democracy was best prepared to control evil use of weaponry for betterment of others in the world. His background in defense work and space programs gave him insight into the awesome dangers of misuse of power by any country.
He was a past director of the Houston Engineering and Scientific Society, Consulting Engineers Council, and Campfire Girls Inc. (where he received the Lester Halsey Gulich Award for his assisting the building of a dam and lake for Houston Youth in Texas). Jerry was appointed by the Mayor of Houston to serve as a board member of the Coastal Industrial Water Authority (a regional agency supplying drinking water to the large lakes in the Houston Water Supply System). He was a Fellow in the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Society of American Military Engineers. In recent years, in moving to "The Memorial" Condo and renewing a friendship of some 15 years with Merle Hunsaker, Jerry had said, "Life is Good". Through Merle, he had gained many new and dear friends at 9333 Memorial, and within the Hunsaker Family in Arizona and Texas.
He is survived by daughter Melanie McAfee and her three children, Abigail with husband Corey Daigle and great granddaughter Sydney, Adele with husband Ben Danik and great granddaughter Matilda , and Emerson; Son-in- law Peter Goble and his son Dietrich Cale Goble and fiance Samantha Chestney ; Jerry's deceased wife's family the Bowdens in the Houston area, Jackie and Bill Sodon, Rob and Becky Bowden, Pat Ashford, and their families. Also surviving Jerry is Peggy Shaw, his first cousin.
Don't grieve for me for now I'm free,
I'm following the path God left for me,
I took His hand and I heard Him call,
(As well the call of my departed angels ( Adele, Shelle, Mother Vera Koerper and Merle Hunsaker) my loves all,
I turned my back and left it all,
I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work or play;
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy,
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Aw yes, these things too I will miss,
Be not bothered with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow,
(Especially my angels Melanie McAfee (daughter), and my grandchildren),
My life's been full, I savored much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch,
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief,
Lift up your hearts and share with me,
I'm with God now, I've been set free.
Due to the ongoing Covid situation, the memorial celebration will be delayed. If you would like to receive information about the event once it is scheduled, please send contact information to [email protected]
or to 4120 Mattie Street, Austin, Texas 78723. Dad, I will miss you forever. Your were my rock and foundation and the best Dad I could ever imagine having. In lieu of flowers, he requested contributions could be made to Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church Outreach Programs.
Published by Houston Chronicle on Sep. 19, 2021.