Richard J. Switz in Memoriam

Richard ‘Dick’ Switz was born on May 18, 1929 in a farmhouse in Switz City, Indiana, son of Henry ‘Bud’ and Lucille Switz with older brother Donald and younger brother Hal.  Switz City was named for his great grandfather. He grew up working on the family farm and attended Switz City High School.

Dick graduated from Purdue University, for which he maintained lifelong affection and pride, earning a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He was drafted after graduation into the U.S. Army, serving two years assigned to the Corps of Engineers in the Pentagon.  After his discharge from the Army Dick accepted a job with Ryan Aircraft, and relocated to sunny San Diego, beginning the California adventure lasting the rest of his life. He enjoyed music, photography, traveling, time with family and friends and adored his grand/great-grandkids.

Dick spent most of his career with Hughes Aircraft, moving to El Segundo in 1966 from Reseda and played a key roles in designing Surveyor—the first spacecraft to successfully soft land on the Moon—many communication satellites and exploring other planets with Pioneer Venus and Galileo.  After retiring in the mid-80s as Chief Scientist, Dick was elected for four years to the El Segundo City Council to proudly serve his hometown and was a parishioner of St. Anthony’s for over 50 years.

Dick passed away peacefully on October 14 at Torrance Memorial Hospital surrounded by family. He is survived by children Jim Switz and Rita Nelson (both of WA State) and Lauren Harger in Manhattan Beach, grandchildren Laura, Jenna, Sean and Megan and great-grandchildren Linken and Olia.

Visitation will be from 5 to 9pm on October 22 at the Rice Mortuary at 5310 Torrance Blvd in Torrance.  A service will be held on October 23 at American Martyrs Catholic Church located at 624 15thStreet in Manhattan Beach at 10am followed by a reception at 11am.

3 thoughts on “Richard J. Switz in Memoriam

  1. Thank you very much for posting the memorial to our Dad; we know how much he treasured working with so many of you for years to achieve amazing things – as kids we were dazzled, made sure all our friends knew, and held our breath along with Dad as machines and men made their final triumphal descents over the decades.

    We’ll know some of you will be with us in person early next week; all are welcome of course, personally or in spirit, to help us honor Dick Switz.

  2. Oh, one small correction, please – Richard Switz was born May 18, 1928, not 1929.
    Thanks!

  3. DIck was a good mentor to the young engineers, always willing to help them navigate the pitfalls of evolving technology. He was one of my favorite managers.

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