With great sadness, we must report that Richard ‘Rich’ Theodore Mattler, of Tacoma, passed away on November 27, 2017. Rich was born in Hoquiam, Washington on April 25, 1938. After graduating from Hoquiam High School he moved to Seattle, graduating from the University of Washington in 1960. Rich was an amazing husband, father, friend, and mentor to countless people. He was an accomplished musician and a childhood piano protégé. Rich could pick up any musical instrument and play a tune. He was on his way to becoming a professional musician when he discovered his love of teaching. That realization changed his career path and positively impacted thousands of students whether he was their teacher, musical director, activities coordinator, athletic director, or administrator. Rich spent over 35 years either teaching or in school administration at Puyallup, Kent-Meridian, Renton, and Lindbergh high schools. He felt such joy each day, happy that he was working with high school students and he felt lucky to be able to watch them learn and grow. Countless times Rich would be approached at the movies or a restaurant or a far away airport by a former student with a heartfelt, “Mr. Mattler!” thanking him for making a profound difference in his or her life.
Rich was a tinkerer and in retirement he would spend hours fixing his antique clocks. He loved toys, gadgets of all kinds, and the newest and latest technology. He also had a great ability to tell stories: he lived by the motto, ‘Never let the truth get in the way of a good story!’ Everyone who knew him will miss his ready smile, twinkly blue eyes, keen sense of humor, and his positive outlook on life.
Rich’s wife of 57 years, Dianne, preceded him in death by 3 months. His son, Mark Richard Mattler, his parents, Ted and Ruby Mattler, and his brother Ken Mattler also predeceased him. He is survived by his favorite (and only) daughters, Beth Mattler Picardo (Paul) and Amy Lynne Burr (Thomas). He is also survived by his incredible (more favorite) grandchildren: Tyler Mattler (Caitlin), Jessica Mattler, Christopher Picardo, Kiersten Picardo, Mitchell Burr, Weston Burr, and Kaytlin Burr. Rich is also survived by his sister, Nancy Workman, brother-in-law, Frank Crosby (Sylvia) and nephews Pat Workman, Bryan Workman, and Kurt Crosby, numerous friends, and his favorite furry companion, Baxter.
A Celebration of Rich’s Life will be held on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. at Maplewood Golf Club in Renton.
Donations can be made in Rich’s honor to the Mark Mattler Scholarship at the University of Puget Sound or Seattle Children’s Hospital.