Richard Anthony Hargarten
May 18, 1925 – January 11, 2021
Dick Hargarten was born on May 18th, 1925 in Milwaukee, WI and passed away on Monday, January 11, 2021 in Austin, TX at the age of 95. He attended Michigan State University, was a graduate of the Air War College, and a bomber and fighter pilot with extensive US Air Force Training during a 33-year career in the United States Air Force (1943 - 1976), attaining the rank of Colonel. On entering civilian life Dick had a second career as City Administrator for West Lake Hills, Texas (1977 - 1994) before retiring in 1994.
As a young boy, Dick looked to the sky and saw an airplane flying overhead. He knew immediately he wanted to fly. In World War II, when his country called, Dick realized his passion for flying by joining the US Army Air Force in 1943 at the age of 19. He quickly earned his pilot’s wings and thus began a remarkable 33-year Air Force career.
Dick's passion was flying planes. In addition to serving in World War II, Dick flew in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and during the Cuban missile crisis. He was both a bomber and fighter pilot and flew many reconnaissance missions. The aircraft he flew included: PT-19, BT-13, B17G, B-24, B-25, B-29, B-36, B-52, B-52D, B-52H, F4D, F13-A, F-105D, T-29, T-39A, U3-A, U4-A, VC-47D, VT-29B.
Among his many achievements, Dick was one of the youngest instructor pilots on the B-36 aircraft. He flew weather and typhoon reconnaissance in Asia, penetrating to the heart of seven typhoons, piloted a B-52 in the heat of the Cuban missile crisis, and was responsible for aircraft preparation and maintenance on world record breaking long distance flights. Later in his career, Dick was Commander in Chief of Maintenance for Intercontinental Missile Support of the entire US Government Western Test Range, Chief of Maintenance for fighter and cargo aircraft in Vietnam, and Chief of Staff for Logistics at Bergstrom Air Force base here in Austin.
Dick’s military career took him to many places around the world. He was stationed at bases in Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, California, Germany, Alabama, North Carolina, and Texas. Additionally, he held tours of duty in Okinawa; Taiwan; China; Japan; Korea; Alaska; Spain; Africa; England; Guam; South Korea; Tuy Hoa, Vietnam; Phu Cat, Vietnam; Thailand; Singapore; Hong Kong; the Philippines; Ryukyu Island; Iwo Jima; Manus; Rabaul; Finschhafen; Port Morseby; Hollandia; Balikpapan; Cebu City; Tainan; Taipei-Formosa; and Shanghai, China.
His military decorations include the Air Force Commendation with Oak Leaf Clusters, the Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart, American Campaign Medal, Philippine Independence Ribbon, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal with one Bronze Star, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award with six Oak Leaf Clusters, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with one Oak Leaf Cluster and two “V” devices, Medal for Humane Action, Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Service Stars.
Upon retirement from the US Air Force in 1976 at the rank of Colonel, Dick took a brief break and then began his next career in 1977 as the City of West Lake Hills City Administrator.
During his tenure, city ordinances were formally codified, the Master Plan was adopted, and construction of the present city hall took place. In an interview with the Westlake Picayune, dated August 1978, he described his work in auditing property in the city and discovering 60 pieces of land that had never been on the city tax rolls since the city began taxing in 1971 and “straightening out the septic tank procedures”…”over 100 homes that were overdue inspections”. He helped guide the city through the at times contentious debate over the development of the Butler tract — a large piece of raw land, which is now the Village at Westlake Shopping Center at Bee Cave Road and Loop 360. He was known for his strict adherence to the rules, city code, and procedures to city administration. While known for his “no nonsense” approach and firm hand, his door was always open.
After 17 years serving as City Administrator, Dick retired in 1994 to spend time traveling with his wife, Nancy, and making memories with his children and grandchildren.
While his distinguished career portrays a man of upmost honor, service, and dedication, Dick also will be lovingly remembered for his love and devotion to Nancy, his wife for 66 years, and for his unconditional love to his three children, Rick, Holly, and Heather, his grandchildren and his siblings. His love and guidance provided the strong foundation for them to be confident in who they are and what they can do with their talents. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, children Rick, Holly and Heather, grandchildren Matt, Hunter and Garrett, and his sister Bernice.
Dick was a public servant in the truest sense of the word. No matter where we go, or what we do, his spirit continues to soar high in our hearts.
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
St John Newmann Catholic Church
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
St John Neumann Columbarium
Richard Anthony Hargarten
Jennifer Brostad Garcia
January 16, 2021
On behalf of the Brostad family I would like to extend our deepest sympathies. Col. Hargarten was a great family man. I remember always being welcome in the Hargarten home where I spent many hours swimming in the pool and having Pizza on Friday nights..... And those burgers stuffed with blue cheese .
Nancy, Rick, Holly & Heather you are in my thoughts and prayers are this difficult time.
Love to you all.
January 14, 2021
Oh! Nancy, I am so sorry, for you! If there are any questions I can answer, please, do call me!
You will be in my prayers these next days and weeks..,.Martha Pyle. 512-918-0477 or 512-294-5326