by Columbia Missourian

Dick Luecke served as a Board Member on CAS between 1977-1980, and served as President in 1976-1977. He was remembered by longtime CAS members as being “a kind man and a good birder.” The following is the obituary that ran in the Missourian in January.


Richard H. Luecke, age 93 of Columbia, Missouri, passed away on January 16, 2024. He was born to the late Harry and Frances Luecke in Cincinnati, Ohio, on March 27, 1930.


Known to friends as Dick, he attended Roger Bacon High School in Cincinnati, Ohio then University of Cincinnati, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering.

 He began his career at DuPont Corporation in Orange, Texas. Later he earned his PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of Oklahoma, and then moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he worked at Monsanto Company. In 1967, Richard settled in Columbia Missouri where he was a professor at University of Missouri for 33 years.

 Richard’s interests were broad and deep, including science, math and engineering, family and friends, athletics, travel and outdoor recreation, reading, and politics.

 In 1955, he married Mary Ann Demoret in Cincinnati, and together they raised five children while camping, traveling, and becoming involved in many social causes in Columbia.

 After Mary Ann passed away in 2002, Richard was lucky enough to meet Edith Laydon, another kindred spirit. They married in 2006 and together they traveled the world by canoe, plane, train, car, and by ship to places far and wide including China, India, Australia, Europe, Africa and South America.

 Richard loved Colorado, and had climbed all 53 “fourteeners” there in the company of fellow-adventurers. He was an early environmentalist, a past president of the Columbia Audubon Society, an officer of the Sierra Club, and a long-time board member of the University YMCA.

Throughout his life, Richard could be found jogging, bicycling, playing handball, cave spelunking, hiking, and birdwatching. He was an avid reader and an expert cross-word puzzler.

As a parent and grandparent, Richard encouraged and role-modeled a sense of humor and squeezing all the adventure you can into life. Professionally, Richard developed a wide variety of biomedical modeling applications and broke new ground by applying Chemical Engineering methodologies to biomedical modeling applications.

 His research interests, starting at DuPont and Monsanto and continuing at the University of Missouri were process control, optimization and advanced mathematical and statistical applications to Chemical Engineering. Dr. Luecke was a true mentor to his students over the years, both personally and professionally.

 He enjoyed involvement in their development as engineers and as engaged adults–emphasizing independent, creative thinking, instilling a healthy questioning of authority, and organizing frequent bike rides, hikes, book readings, Shakespeare films, and other activities with his students.

 Richard leaves behind his wife, Edith Luecke; his children Brad (Sarah Friskey) Luecke, Greg (Jennifer Gelwick) Luecke, Mark (Haydee Boyd) Luecke, Genise Luecke and Connie (Timothy) Roetker; his grandchildren Mirelle Luecke, Conrad Luecke, Ruby Stults, Austin Luecke, Becky Roetker and Ryan Roetker, Jenna Boyd, Cory Boyd as well as Eydie’s children Fredrick Laydon, and Roberta (Jeff) Pierce and grandchildren Michael Pierce and Jessica Pierce.

 He was preceded in death by his first wife, Mary Ann, and his brother Thomas Luecke, and is survived by his two sisters, Joan (Frank) Fago and Diana (Cliff) Hodapp.

 A private celebration of life will be held for family and close friends in the Columbia area at a later date.