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Richard T. Garrett

Obituary for Richard T. Garrett

June 29, 1923 - September 16, 2018
Rocky River, Ohio | Age 95

Loving Husband, Father and Grandfather


Cleveland recently lost a benevolent giant whose family business helped build virtually every iconic structure in Northern Ohio. Richard T. Garrett, a lifelong West Sider, passed away peacefully from complications related to heart disease on Sunday, September 16, 2018 at the age of 95. As one of his many awards proclaimed, Dick will be remembered for his "inextinguishable legacy" of "extraordinary commitment and outstanding contributions of time, talent and resources."

Dick was born on June 29, 1923 to parents Thomas and Vita Elizabeth Garrett. He grew up on Frazier Drive in Rocky River, overlooking the Cleveland Yachting Club. Dick followed in his father's footsteps and enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1941 to study engineering. After the outbreak of World War II, Dick enlisted as an Engineer within the survey units of the Army Field Artillery. He landed in France within days of D-Day. He was among the first of the U.S. troops to cross the Rhine River into Germany at the Remagen bridge, made famous years later by Hollywood.

Following the war, Dick returned to the University of Michigan, married his college sweetheart Marilyn Holtom in 1947, and graduated in 1948 with his degree in Civil Engineering and Surveying. Dick and Marilyn returned to Cleveland and Dick joined his family's surveying business, Garrett & Associates. Founded by Dick's grandfather in 1890, Garrett & Associates provided critical engineering and surveying work to virtually every major project in town-from the Terminal Tower to the Hope Memorial Bridge to the Erieview Plaza to Cleveland State's campus to the Cleveland Clinic's main campus.

In 1964, Marilyn contracted MS, which caused her to be severely debilitated and mobility-impaired. Dick faithfully stood by Marilyn's side until her death in 1991.

In 1993 Dick met the second love of his life, Marjorie Fricke, whose husband Bob had succumbed to cancer five years earlier. Dick had known Bob over 50 years earlier in the same high school class at Rocky River High School. Dick and Marge married in 1993.

Through his 69 years of devoted, faithful and loving marriage, Dick balanced his business interests, his personal and family interests, and his civic interests in a most loving, pleasant, and humble way.

Dick received numerous awards for his surveying work, most of which were only recently discovered by his family by accident, and he was a mentor to generations of workers in the surveying industry. He served as President of the Cleveland Chapter of the Professional Land Surveyors of Ohio. He was active in the Rocky River Rotary Club, and an officer and long-time member of the Cleveland Executives' Association.

Dick was an avid fisherman and boater, having fished all over the world and docked his boat in Lorain, Ohio and later at the Cleveland Yachting Club. He owned properties in Costa Rica, Huron, Ohio and Naples, Florida, and he developed residential properties in Avon, Ohio through his Garrett Development Company. Dick maintained an office in Rocky River and worked hard daily there until the day he was hospitalized.

Grateful for all that he had in his life, Dick was perhaps most of all a big-hearted humanitarian. Dick donated the entire original playground at the West Shore YMCA in Westlake, and he was a founder and builder of the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center in Bay Village. Until his death, Dick provided financial support to a Native American school in New Mexico, and to a school in Costa Rica.

Dick and Marjorie created and funded the Holtom-Garrett Family Professorship in Neurology at the University of Michigan's School of Medicine. They also created and funded the Holtom-Garrett laboratory for MS research there. Locally, Dick and Marjorie were Grand Patrons for the most recent renovation of Severance Hall. They were members of the Cleveland Clinic's prestigious 1921 Club, and in 2013 they received the Clinic's George Krile Award-the highest honor the Clinic gives for contributions to the Clinic-for their involvement there.

Dick is survived by his second wife Marjorie, his three children-Rich of Sarasota, Florida, Marcia Mootz (Lee) of Dallas, Texas and David (Donna) of Cumming, Georgia; Marge's three sons-Bob (Nancy) of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Tom (Jackie) of Dallas, and Wade (Laura) of Chagrin Falls, Ohio; and 14 grandchildren who adored him. He was predeceased by his parents, his brother George and sister Marjorie, and his grandson Gregory.

A Memorial Service to honor Dick's life will be held at 11:30 am on Friday, September 21, 2018 at the Rocky River Presbyterian Church, 21750 Detroit Rd, with a reception to follow at the Cleveland Yachting Club. Contributions in Dick's memory can be made to the Holtom-Garrett Family Professorship of Neurology, c/o The University of Michigan School of Medicine, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0624, or the Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute, c/o The Cleveland Clinic, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106. 440-333-9774

Recommended Local Florist

Suggested Memorial Donations

  • Holtom-Garrett Family Professorship of Neurology
    c/o The University of Michigan School of Medicine
    Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0624
  • Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute, c/o The Cleveland Clinic
    9500 Euclid Avenue
    Cleveland, OH 44106

Arrangements By

Busch Funeral and Crematory Services

21369 Center Ridge Road
Fairview Park, OH 44116
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