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In Memoriam: Richard C. (Dick) Roeder, RDI, 1925-2018

Richard C. (Dick) Roeder, 92, of Houston, passed away in his sleep April 30, 2018 with family at his side. He was born June 10, 1925 in Bronxville, N.Y. Dick received his degree in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute where he met his future wife Virginia.

He traveled in Europe and spent a year in Mumbai, India, where he and a college friend opened a design office before returning to the U.S. and settling in Houston in 1950. He and Virginia married in 1951.

Dick began his career as a draftsman at Houston-based Brochsteins Inc., then a design-build firm and a charter member of NASFM. He next moved to Foley's, the Houston-based department store division of May Department Stores, where he rose to become director of store planning. In 1965, he opened Richard Roeder Associates, one of the first retail design firms in the United States. Dick was recognized for his expertise and innovative approach to retail design and received many testimonials and awards.

He was an early member of the Institute of Store Planners (now the Retail Design Institute), which formed in 1961. Two of Dick’s four daughters followed their dad into the retail design profession -- Ramsay Weatherford, RDI, Ohio, and Parke Wellman, RDI, St. Louis. Commented Ramsay, “He had a lot to do with my success. I grew up going to jobsites with him and later on worked for him for 14 years. I think because he started his career at Foley's he always looked at both the business side of retail as well as the design side.” It was a rich history, she continued, “He taught me just about everything I know -- block planning, sales analysis, how to listen to merchants, merchandising and construction documentation.” Said Parke, "I really can only echo what Ramsay said about learning from him and working as a designer. I also worked for a number of years at his firm until seeking my architectural license."

In addition to Ramsay and Parke, two more daughters, three grandchildren and his wife survive Dick. If desired, donations may be sent to Texas A&M Maritime Academy, The Nature Conservancy or MECA Houston.

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