Richard L. De Witt
September 26, 1936 – January 21, 2021
Obituary for Richard L DeWitt Richard Leo De Witt age 84, passed away Thursday 1/21/21 of natural causes. Friends may visit Thursday January 28, 2021 from 3pm to 7pm at Corrigan Craciun Funeral Home 20820 Lorain Road, Fairview Park OH 44126. A Funeral Mass will be held Friday January 29, 2021 at 12:30 at St. Christopher Church 20141 Detroit Road, Rocky River OH 44116. Interment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery. NOTE: all COVID 19 procedures will be in place.
Richard, aka “Geezer”, was born in Cleveland, OH September 26, 1936 to Leo W. and Helen R. (nee Herbst) De Witt. He was the oldest of 3 boys and attended St. Christopher grade school and St. Edward High School. He was very active in CYO sports and played baseball at St. Ed’s. Out of all the sports, his real love was football. He coached many years of CYO football.
He graduated cum laude from the University of Detroit, MI with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in June of 1959 and went on to earn his Master of Science in Classical Mathematics from John Carroll University in 1964. His master’s thesis was “Schwarz – Christoffel Transformations”. During his college years he was in Army ROTC and upon graduation received his Officers Commission in the Army Signal Corps. He served both active duty and in the Army Reserves for a total of 7 years. His first assignment was at the N.A.S.A. Lewis Research Center while assigned to the Army Corps of Engineers in Hayes OH. He started working at N.A.S.A. in 1956 and worked at the Lewis Research Center and Plumbrook stations for an over 40-year career. He was best known by his nickname “The Geezer” and as the “guy who always wore a white button-down shirt and thin necktie” whether it was in or out of style. He took care of the coffee stand and whistled as he walked through the office hallways. He enjoyed coaching the softball team that he and his coworkers played on. He worked with principal investigators of zero gravity experiments that were conducted during flight of the spaceship “Orbiter” for two different flights and 5 different experiments total. He helped the scientists with how the experiments would work in a microgravity environment.
He worked in the field of cryogenics mainly with liquid hydrogen, also on thermal protection systems for hydrogen storage in space and on regeneratively cooled liquid hydrogen-liquid oxygen rocket engine systems. He also worked on noise abatement hardware for jet engines. While at N.A.S.A. he received a U. S. patent on a “fluid coupling” invention used on many space missions. When he retired, he was hired on as a contractor for Northrop Grumman doing similar work. He received many awards and accolades over his long and distinguished career. He was an avid Notre Dame football fan and took many trips to games with family friends, carefully saving each program and ticket stub. He was a member of American Legion Post 12 in Elyria and many other social and professional organizations. Richard was a daily Mass attendee, head usher and ran Friday Holy Hour at St Brendan Parish for many years. He ushered at St Jude Church in Elyria and was a Eucharistic Minister taking Communion to the sick at Elyria hospital. One of the things he was most proud of was his work with Holy Love Ministries, serving Our Blessed Mother. He helped to propagate the first devotion of “Our Lady Protectress of the Faith” and Blessed Mother’s promises for devotion to Her under that title. Our Lady took him to be with Her on the 35th anniversary of her feast day under the Our Lady Protectress of the Faith title.
He is survived by his wife Mary Lynn DeWitt of Elyria, his 6 children Kathleen Pearce (Thomas) of Elyria, Dr. Laura DeWitt (Neil O’Callaghan) of Issaquah WA, Janette Deininger (Kenneth) of Northfield Center OH, Michael DeWitt (Daneta) of Bargersville IN, Nancy DeWitt of St Petersburg FL, Steven DeWitt (Renee) of Rocky River, 3 step sons Aldino Stazzone (Sharon) of Columbus OH, Salvatore Stazzone of Elyria, Shawn Stazzone (Nicola) of Margate FL , former wife of 26 years Diana DeWitt (nee Zalenski) of Rocky River, nephews John DeWitt PhD (Dr. Nesreen Ibrahim) of Houston TX, David DeWitt (Leigh) of Strongsville, Matthew DeWitt PhD (Dr. Debra Bockhorn) of Dayton OH, niece Jennifer Hoelzer (Ronald) of Maumee OH, 14 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren and many cousins. He is preceded in death by parents Leo and Helen DeWitt, brother and sister in law Kenneth & Barbara DeWitt (nee Kennedy), and brother Thomas DeWitt. In lieu of flowers Richard had asked that Masses be said for the repose of his soul.
To View the Mass of Christian burial Livestream use tis link: https://boxcast.tv/view/richard-dewitt-rcedunrrcfkucp7l4c34
Thursday, January 28, 2021
Mass of Christian Burial
Friday, January 29, 2021
Richard L. De Witt
John, Amy, Gianna, and Thomas O'Callaghan
February 1, 2021
Our hearts and prayers are with you, Laura (and all your dear family). We requested a Mass to be offered for your father at our parish, which we will attend. May God keep you and comfort you!
February 1, 2021
Dick was one of the first people with whom I interacted when I was hired in 1985. He was both cheerful and knowledgeable, and created an environment that encouraged -- make that, demanded -- excellence in all things -- from one's appearance to one work products. Every time, and I mean EVERY time, I walked away from our conversations (often spontaneous in the hallways or near the coffee maker apparatus hidden in a closet) with a higher sense of purpose and pride in what our group at NASA did. Just the thought of those conversations brings a huge smile to my face. So this note is simply a way to say THANK YOU to the great person and public servant that Dick was.
January 28, 2021
Thank you for all the work you did in the establishment of the now Holy Love Ministries. It is indeed fitting and comforting that you entered Eternity on the anniversary of Mary Protectress of the Faith.
I always enjoyed our banter especially whenever I commented on your hat. Thank you for introducing me to your children and grand children who have enriched my life abundantly.
January 28, 2021
I didn't personally know Richard, but I'm a friend of one of the family members, Nancy. Having read every word of his obituary, I feel like I know him! What a job well done, putting together all of the bits and pieces of his life. I'm sure the family is proud to have loved and lived with a man such as this. Prayers for the family, as you all begin to adjust to life without him.
January 27, 2021
Geezer was a great co-worker and a lot of fun to be around. He brightened up the room. I always enjoyed his company and am thankful for his contributions to the many projects he supported in his career. Rest In Peace Richard.
January 27, 2021
Janette, I am so sorry for the loss of your Dad. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts. Lauren Gooch
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.