Richard H. Holzapfel

On Tuesday, August 13, 2019, Richard Herman Holzapfel passed away at the age of 80. Richard was born on July 23, 1939 in Alice, Texas to Herman G. Holzapfel Jr. and Ruth Slack Holzapfel. He received his bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University in 1962 and later began his 34+ year career as a Safety Engineer for NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Richard always had a passion for fishing, wildlife and anything involving the outdoors, as well as great love of baseball. His favorite daily routine was walking his dog, Sugar, to his “Church Under the Trees”. He was admired and loved by everyone that had the opportunity to know him, especially his family. His infectious smile, positive attitude, and his genuinely kind and compassionate spirit are qualities that will live on in our hearts.
Richard was preceded in death by his father, Herman, and his mother, Ruth. He is survived by his: wife of 39 years, Rebecca Miles Holzapfel; daughters, Lisa Brooke Morgan, Monica Lynn Atkinson and husband Glenn, Angela Dawn Mancini, and Julie Diane Hoover and husband Britt; son, Scott William Holzapfel; sister, Carolyn Ruth Leonard and husband Rex; grandchildren, Chandler Dean Atkinson, Natalie Isabella Atkinson, Joshua David Holzapfel, Erikah Dawn Bertolasio, Dylan James Hoover, and Landon Scott Hoover; as well as numerous family members and friends.
On Saturday, August 17, 2019 Richard’s family will greet guests from 1:00 – 2:00 pm followed by a memorial service at 2:00 pm at Crowder Funeral Home on 111 E. Medical Center Boulevard in Webster, TX 77598. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to make a donation in memory of Richard may do so to Coastal Conservation Association Texas, 6919 Portwest Dr #100, Houston, Texas 77024, phone: 1-713-626-4222, or through their website


  1. Dearest Rebecca and Family,

    Our sincere condolences to all of you. I am sorry we never had the opportunity to meet Richard, but I know he was a treasure to his family, and will be truly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and we will be with you in spirit. Take care sweet Rebecca.

    Alice Anne and Bob

    Alice Anne Vargo
  2. I worked with Richard as both a contractor and civil servant….genuinely decent man and got it done too. God Bless you Richard!!

    Tom DIegelman
  3. In about 1983, JSC’s Employee Activity Association was asking the Center Director to approve a plan for on-site childcare as other NASA centers had at the time. Management’s position was that safety requirements would be too onerous to make it possible. But Richard Holzapfel was assigned to look into it. His support meant that the existing playground was made safer and the argument that safety wasn’t possible was debunked. We lost that round, but a later Director approved and childcare did happen. Thank you, Richard. Lots of happy (and safe) children owe it to you. May you Rest In Peace.

    Carol Schoenecker Homan
  4. My Condolences to the Holzapfel Family and Friends. I have known Richard since 1990 as a member of the NASA Office of Safety and Mission Assurance community, his mark on this earth was gigantic as he was a forward thinker for Operational Safety and Fire Protection for all of NASA. Richard did his “clear thinking in the shower “and would share his enhancing concepts for safety in conference call to my office in Code QS, Washington, DC. One of the many, The concept of the NASA Safety Training Center grew out of our discussions and lead to the training of thousands in Mission Assurance and Mishap Prevention resulting in the savings of resources and personal injury throughout the Agency. His sound judgement influenced National Policy for safety and fire protection. His accomplishments should be celebrated as one of the finest Safety Engineers in the Country and never forgotten. Richard left this earth a better place than ever, and we shall miss him forever. Richard, I salute and Toast you!

    Jonathan B. Mullin
  5. While I did not have the pleasure of meeting Richard personally, I have had the opportunity to work with his daughter and am so very blessed as a result of it. Our Team here in Southern California sends our sincere condolences and love out to Richards family and all who are touched by his passing.

    Jimi Nelson

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