Richard P. Martter

August 2, 1933February 20, 2021

Richard Perry Martter (Papa), born on August 2, 1933, to Perry Francis and Helen Scully Martter in Los Angeles, California, died on February 20, 2021. He was the middle of three children, Claire being the eldest and Doug the youngest.

Papa grew up in beautiful Southern California and recalled a childhood that was nothing short of idyllic. He shared countless stories of raising chickens, picking fresh fruit from his backyard orchard and paddling the handmade plywood boat he built around a small, uninhabited island off the California coast - Balboa Island!

Papa’s father was his lifelong hero and he spoke of him often. He fondly remembered running the fastest heat at the 1948 All-American Soap Box Derby in a car they built together. He loved his father dearly, and the loss of him at an early age had a profound impact on his life. Several years ago Papa wrote a book about his father’s extraordinary life and accomplishments. As Papa’s illness progressed, his children would often read portions of the story and he would weep.

After graduating from Loyola High School, Papa enrolled at Cal Tech. In 1954 Papa entered the U.S. Army as a tank commander. He was involved in testing the atomic bomb in the Nevada desert and shared stories of being temporarily blinded by the blast.

Following his military service, Papa enrolled at Loyola University where he met the love of his life, Maria Theresa Colarossi (Mama). Papa and Mama were married on April 11, 1959. Throughout 61 years of marriage, Papa always said Mama was the prettiest girl in the room. He fondly recalled the stories of their courtship, especially the amazing meals he shared with her family. He loved the Colarossi Italian traditions and adored his in-laws, and they remained an integral part of our family’s life. Until he could no longer raise his glass, Papa honored his father-in-law at sunset with a toast of “First One Today.”

Upon graduation from Loyola University in 1958, Papa and Mama moved to Palo Alto where he pursued two master’s degrees (business and civil engineering) at Stanford University. Two years later he graduated magna cum laude, and welcomed his second child on the same day. In the first eight years of their marriage, Mama and Papa welcomed six children - Christine, Julie, Danny, Jennifer, Steven and Perri Anne.

After graduation Papa joined a large general contracting firm where he became familiar with post-tensioning, a cutting-edge technique to strengthen concrete. A visionary and an inventor, Papa was hooked and devoted his entire 50-year-plus career to this passion, which led to multiple patents and innovations.

In the late 1960's, post-tensioning began to be used in the grade slab foundations that were becoming popular in the homebuilding industry. Papa was charged with the task of developing this sector of the market for Atlas Prestressing Corporation. He developed the method that came to be called the "spanability" for the design of grade slabs in expansive soils, a method still in use in modified form. Papa was responsible for a number of innovations while at Atlas and was awarded the "Thomas E. Anderson Award" for his innovative engineering approach. Armed with Papa’s innovations, Atlas progressed rapidly and produced about 50% of all un-bonded post-tensioning sold in the U.S. in the late 1970's.

In 1973, Papa moved to Dallas, Texas, and was charged with opening the Texas office of Atlas. He immediately fell in love with the Great State of Texas and all of its larger than life swagger, cowboy garb and colloquialisms which were perfectly suited to his big personality. He was enamored with the phrase “fixin’ to” and he was “fixin’ to” on regular basis. Dallas became his home for the remainder of his life.

Papa was proud of his Irish, German, and French heritage. He loved his beer steins collected (along with an MG convertible) while on a European trip during college. He especially loved anything Irish-whether it be bagpipes, traditional music, movies set in Ireland, beer and even the color green. He loved spending time at Trinity Hall Irish Pub listening to traditional Irish music. His favorite holiday was St. Patrick’s Day – March 17. He unsuccessfully tried to expedite the birth of his first born, Christine, taking Mama on a bumpy car ride. Christine arrived two days later. Back when the TV Guide was a necessity in every home, he would give his children a dollar if they found Shane, Quiet Man, or any movie with John Wayne listed. He watched Shane and Quiet Man hundreds of times – and wept every time.

Papa loved food and dinner spent with his family surrounding the big round table with the lazy susan in the middle. He loved the hours spent around that table with conversations that lingered long after the plates had been cleared. Mama’s Italian feasts were his favorite but he would never turn away a German sausage or hot dog.

Papa never bragged about his professional accomplishments, which were many. But as much as he loved his work, he loved his family more. His family and wife were his true passions in life. He adored hosting big family vacations and weekends spent with family and friends at his lake house making so many wonderful memories. His generosity was boundless.

What will be most remembered by his children, grandchildren and friends is his generous spirit. He adored and was fascinated by his 14 grandchildren- Katie, Mia, Annabelle, Isabelle, Julianna, Drew, Megan, Mac, Kate, Beau, Gabriel, Zach, Ella and Tessy. If they were interested in something, so was he. Each of his grandchildren have a special story to tell about their Papa. Last year he was beyond proud to be a great grandfather when Daniel Perry arrived, the son of his granddaughter Mia and Joe Doyle. He loved and welcomed to the family new grandson-in-laws: Joe Doyle (Mia’s husband) and Chris Shinaberry (Katie’s husband).

Papa loved his church and honored his Catholic faith. Since 1973, he was a proud member of St. Monica Catholic Church where he and Mama worshipped, as well as educated, all of their children in the Catholic faith. He was an also ardent supporter of the rights of unborn children.

We honor Papa, as he honored us at the end of many late-night gatherings, with his favorite Irish toast: God Bless All in This House.

In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial donations made to the following charities close to Richard’s heart:

Holy Trinity Seminary

3131 Vince Hagan Drive

Irving, Texas 75062

Birth Choice

8610 Greenville Ave., #200

Dallas, Texas 75243

Monday, March 1, 2021

St Monica Catholic Church

9933 Midway Rd, Dallas, TX 75220 Phone: 214-358-1453

9:15 am - Rosary

9:30 am - Eulogy

10 am - Requiem Mass

Immediately followed by internment at Calvary Hill Cemetery, 3235 Lombardy Ln, Dallas, TX 75220


1 March


9:30 am - 10:00 am

St. Monica Catholic Church

9933 Midway Rd.
Dallas, TX 75220

1 March

Funeral Service

10:00 am - 11:00 am

St Monica Catholic Church

9933 Midway rd.
Dallas, TX 75220

1 March

Committal Service

11:30 am - 12:00 pm

Calvary Hill Cemetery

3235 Lombardy Ln
Dallas, TX 75220


Richard P. Martter

have a memory or condolence to add?

Marilyn Hoskins

March 1, 2021

I met mr dick as i called him when i was a caregiver for him.i was introduced to him by daughter who was also a caregiver for him.very nice man. my daughter cameshia thomas and i enjoyed mr dicks dick was amused of me calling him mr dick he said all others called him mr martter.he will be missed.deepest sympathy to his family.

Ti martin

February 28, 2021

Sending love to Christine and her entire family. I heard many stories of Papa over the years and know that he will leave a big hole in the universe and in your hearts. Love to you all especially Christine, Katie and Chris, Annabelle and Mac.


Jennifer Garrido

February 27, 2021

Jennifer Garrido

February 27, 2021

David Peralta

February 26, 2021

I want to express my condolences to the family. I met Mr. Martter only a few years ago in the PTI annual conference. He shared with me the matter that was being discussed in the Committee meeting.
A very kind person, Mr. Martter, he will be missed.

roberto SANCHEZ

February 24, 2021

Mr. Martter thanks for the opportunity to work with you at Strand System It was nice meting you and chat about the stories from your past God Bless You!!! Tu amigo Roberto Sanchez

Scott Glover

February 24, 2021

Theresa, I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your husband. You and your lovely family our in our prayers.

Summer Pailet

February 23, 2021

To the entire extended Martter Family,
What a special man, one of a kind and truly kind! May your most cherished memories always carry you with strength.
Sending love and light,
Summer, Jeff & Pailet boys

Kip Rolland

February 23, 2021

We are so sad and sorry to hear the passing of such a gentle giant; very intelligent, creative, engaging to speak with, wonderful husband and father. Prayers for him , Theresa and their wonderful children, in-laws and grandchildren.

JD Wilson

February 22, 2021

Dearest Theresa ; Deborah and I cannot adequately express our sadness regarding Dick’s passing ! We only learned of it today ! He was as fine a man as I’ve ever had to pleasure to know .... we have many wonderful memories of adventures we took together hunting Turkeys on my lease ! You and he have raised some of the most beautiful and talented , kind hearted kids we’ve ever known ! I REGRET WE LOST TOUCH WHEN THE FAMILY MOVED OFF Duchess Trail BUT we thought of you and your gorgeous family almost every day ! I am very proud to have been called a friend ! Our hearts are with you and the kids ! Love Deborah and John !