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Richard W. Friel

Published: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT
Richard W. Friel

WEBSTER, Texas – Richard William Friel, 76, of Webster, Texas, passed away Sunday, July 7, 2013.

He was born May 19, 1937, in Amboy, to William H. Friel and Mildred (Beggerow) Friel. After his mother’s death, he was raised by his father and stepmother, Helen (Wolber) Friel, in Sterling. He graduated in 1955 from Newman Central Catholic High School in Sterling.

He began his career in the management training program at Northwestern Steel and Wire Co. in Sterling. Eventually, he managed several of its mills in Sterling before he transferred to Houston to be in charge of its Houston plant operations.  

After retiring, Richard was employed as senior vice president of Mobil Steel International Inc. in Houston. He was a member of ABC.

In addition to his strong work ethic, Richard had a zest for life. Obtaining a pilot’s license as well as an instrument rating, he flew small planes with aviation friends. He was an avid boater who enjoyed many years of boating on the Rock River and Lake Cochrane, and later sailing on Galveston Bay with his family and friends. He loved to entertain guests and was known for his cooking. Richard married Dianne Gunderson on June 29, 1968, in Clear Lake, S.D.  

He is survived by his wife, Dianne, of Kemah, Texas, and their daughter, Erin Friel Elmore and her husband, Ben, of Houston. His daughter, Terri Bridenbaugh, and his son, Gregory Friel, both of DeBary, Fla., also survive. He was the loving “Grampy” to Elizabeth Addison Elmore, Jake Richard Tonahill Elmore, Ryan Bridenbaugh, Brent Friel, and Alex Friel. Other survivors include his stepmother, Helen Friel of Sterling; his sisters, Helen Farley and her husband, John, of DeKalb, Karen Stettler and her husband, James, of Germantown, Tenn., and Karma Vince and her husband, Michael, of Sylvania, Ohio; and his brother-in-law, Clark Gunderson, M.D., and his wife, Robbie, of Lake Charles, La. His nieces and nephews include James Farley, Timothy Farley, Reagan Mcdonough, Sarah Millington, JB Stettler, Abby Wilson, Kari Storm, Michelle Vince, Ashley Gunderson, Camille Gunderson, M.D., and Nadia Gunderson.

Richard was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Kevin Friel; and his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Harvey and Eugenie Gunderson.  

A memorial service was July 9, 2013, at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Houston.

The family asks that memorial gifts in honor of Richard William Friel be given to support the search for a cure for brain cancer, to The Broach Foundation for Brain Cancer Research, www.thebroachfoundation.org, 3703 Elmora Street, Houston, TX 77005.

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