Benjamin Richard (Dick) Respess, Jr., M.D., ’75 passed away on May 16, 2017, in Dallas, Texas at age 69. He was born in Alexandria, Virginia on February 10, 1948, and moved to Houston, Texas, with his parents, Benjamin and Jean Respess, at the age of 2. Dick graduated with honors from The Kinkaid School in 1966 where he was active as member of the football, soccer, and golf teams and in student government. He lettered in football and was a captain of the soccer team, achieving all-conference status in both sports.
He then graduated from Princeton University in 1970 with a B.A. in biology, where he lettered in football as an exceptional Center. He was invited to a tryout with the New York Giants football team. Dick was in the very first class in 1975 to graduate with an M.D. from the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, Texas (now known as McGovern Medical School at UTHealth). He practiced emergency room medicine for 42 years. Dick also participated in extensive medical research, particularly with stem cells, producing break-through procedures for their use in curing cancer.
In 1991, with his expertise and love of automobile racing, Dick led the renovation of the Texas World Speedway in Bryan-College Station. He started a composites manufacturing business, Respess Composites, Inc., which developed a high-performance all-composite car called Consulier, a car that Chrysler Corp. had an interest in acquiring. He was retained by the Russian government under President Boris Yeltsin to analyze the potential revitalization of the Russian automobile industry.
Dick’s other interests included sailing, golf, car-racing and music. He was an accomplished rock-n-roll drummer and an avid sports fan. He loved attending SMU and Dallas Cowboys football games, and Dallas Stars hockey games. Dick is survived by his wife of 34 years, Elizabeth (Liz); his sister, Alice Splawn and her spouse, Jesse; his brother-in-law, Tex Netcher and his spouse, Becky; and Dick’s beloved bulldog, Portia. He is predeceased by his parents, and his dearly beloved bulldogs Hooty, Whitbread, Katy, Warwick, Guinevere and Falstaff. Anyone who met Dick was touched by his humor and his desire to help people. Most importantly, he loved making people’s lives better through medicine. The memorial service will be held at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, 8011 Douglas Ave., Dallas, Texas, 75225, on Thursday, May 25, 2017, at 1:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Dick’s memory to the The Kinkaid School Scholarship Endowment Fund.