Phi Kappa Sigma

Robert C. Ried Jr. ’61

Robert (Bob) C. Ried Jr. (83) of Friendswood, TX, passed away peacefully at home in the early hours of September 11, 2023. Our family appreciates the outstanding help and dedication of Bob’s caregivers, Jackie Jeane, staff of Home Instead, and staff of Traditions Health Hospice along with the prayers and support of family and friends. Bob was born to Robert C. and Ethel U. Ried on March 23, 1940 in San Jose, California. He grew up with his sister Barbara in Pennsylvania and Carle Place, New York. Bob was a gentleman and a scholar, a saltwater fisherman, a soccer coach, a carpenter, an inventor, an artist, a gardener, a father, a brother, a husband, a NASA engineer and a Christian. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1961 where he was a member and officer of Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity, Alpha Mu Chapter, Bob went to work for the NASA Space Task Group on Apollo at Langley Field in Virginia. That same year, he got married and transferred to the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, TX. In 1967, he received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Rice University, where he was a member of Pi Tau Sigma and Sigma Xi. In 1969, he was a Researcher and Professor in Tokyo, Japan at the National Aerospace Laboratory. He wrote and co-authored numerous technical papers and has his name on two patents for space vehicles.

After retiring from NASA in 1995, he transformed a former rice field into a nature preserve, researching trees and native plants that would attract the birds and creatures he loved to observe. Inspired by our family’s stay in Japan, Bob designed and built our second home, most of the furniture, the garden and landscape. For many years he planted and maintained the garden and fishpond, mowed the field, trimmed the trees and tinkered on many projects in his garage shop. A friend called Bob’s trees “the lungs of the neighborhood.”

Our intention is to set up “Ried Park” as a place of respite for people with special needs and their caregivers. We hope to work with the Mary Queen Food Pantry as an extension of Mary’s Garden, with the Creation Ministry, with Special Friends, Youth Volunteers, Scouts and eventually with L’Arche Communities.

Bob is survived by his wife Mary Ellen, two children Robert (Susan) and Sonia (George), four grandchildren, two great-granddaughters, many nieces and nephews. Bob was preceded in death by his parents & sister Barbara Weekes.

A flag ceremony will be held Thursday, October 19, 2023 at 2 pm at NASA JSC, 2101 Nasa Parkway, Houston, TX 77058.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, October 21, 2023 at 10:00 AM -11:00 AM at Jeter Memorial Funeral Home, 311 N. Friendswood Dr., Friendswood, TX 77546, 281-992-7200, followed by a service at Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, 7801 Gulf Fwy, Dickinson, TX 77539. 281-337-1641.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Mary Queen Food Pantry, or the Ried Park Fund we will be setting up in the near future.