Robert Wallace Riedel ’39

Robert Wallace Riedel, 92, passed away on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, at Wing Memorial Hospital in Palmer following a short illness. Born on June 2, 1921, he was the son of the late Wallace Edwin and Marjorie Smith (King) Riedel of Easthampton.

After graduating from Williston Academy, he earned the Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from Yale University in 1943.

In 1943, Bob began his 40-year career with Monsanto Co. in Springfield. He enlisted in the Navy, serving in the South Pacific during World War II from 1944-1947 as Executive Officer aboard the U.S.S. James E. Craig (DE201). Recognitions include the American Area Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Area Medal and Philippine Liberation Area Ribbon. Upon his discharge he received the rank of Ensign LTJG.

Following the war, Bob resumed his career at Monsanto in 1947, holding a series of technical, sales and marketing positions until his retirement in 1983 as New England district sales manager for the polymers and plastics division.

A longtime advocate for people with developmental disabilities, he served on the Governor’s Commission, the State Advisory Council, the ARC of Massachusetts and was a board member for the Center for Public Representation. He was an active contributor to the Department of Developmental Services, Association for Community Living, and Community Options in Belchertown. In these roles, he was instrumental in raising awareness of the need and benefit of integrating people with disabilities into the community rather than follow prior conventional practices of institutionalizing and isolating such individuals.

Bob greatly enjoyed nature and the outdoors, including fishing, boating, gardening, bird-watching, the identification of wildflowers and long daily walks. He will be remembered by many for his friendship and compassion, for his inspiration and gratitude and for his insatiable love of life.

Bob was predeceased by his wife of 47 years, Mildred Swenor, who passed away in 2003, his beloved son Stuart A. Riedel, who died in 2002, and his brother Alan Riedel, who passed away in 2012.

Bob is survived by two sons, John Riedel of Amherst and William Riedel of North Andover, and three grandchildren Christopher, Eric and Rebecca. He is survived by his brother Herbert E. Riedel of Queensbury, N.Y., and special friend Virginia Asbeck of Wilbraham.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the National Brain Tumor Society, Oligodendroglioma Research Fund, 55 Chapel St., Suite 200, Newton, MA 02458. (800) 770-8287 or

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