April 7, 2006
Retired Col. Richard Frederick Seibert served in the Army for 30 years beginning with the infantry during World War II and including a long, globetrotting military-law career.
His résumé included helping to repatriate thousands of Jews to their homelands or Israel after the war. He was also the first general counsel for the Army & Air Force Exchange Service in Dallas. He was a top legal administrator to the secretary of the Army when he retired from the military to the city attorney's office in Dallas.
But his family said it was his last position – an appointment after his second retirement – that he enjoyed the most: associate Dallas municipal judge.
Col. Seibert, 84, died Monday of an embolism after surgery at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas.
Graveside services will be at 10 a.m. today at Hillcrest Memorial Park. A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. at Park Cities Presbyterian Church.
"He said he was just overwhelmed with the wonderful people in this city that he had to work with," said his wife, Bonnie J. Seibert of Dallas.
Col. Seibert's grandfather had been a judge, and his father was an Ohio senator. Col. Seibert and his wife intended to retire to a home on a golf course in Virginia, where he hoped to run for Congress, representing Ohio.
But the couple decided to return to Dallas, where Col. Seibert had been stationed with the AAFES.
"We came to Dallas, and we just loved it, so we stayed," Mrs. Seibert said.
Born in Wooster, Ohio, Col. Seibert was a graduate of Memorial High School in St. Marys, Ohio. He was attending Ohio State University when he was called to active duty in 1943.
In 1944, he was assigned to the Army's 589th Field Artillery Battalion, 106th Infantry Division in Europe.
From 1945 to 1947, he was in Salzburg, Austria, where he assisted the Austrian government with the repatriation of Jews displaced by the Nazis.
In April 1947, he returned to civilian life as a law student at the University of Florida, where he received his doctor of laws degree.
In 1949, he was recalled to active duty as a captain and member of the Judge Advocate Generals Corps in Washington, D.C. His assignments included serving in Korea, where he became chief of the war crimes division. He also served in the Judge Advocate Section in Japan as judge and executive officer.
He returned to Washington, where he earned his master's of military law degree at the University of Virginia.
He then served in Augsburg, Germany, before returning to the Pentagon, where his titles included deputy chief trial attorney and member of the Army and Air Force Clemency & Parole Board.
During his various assignments in Europe, Col. Seibert was active in the PTA.
"He was always the PTA president," his wife said. "He was the president of the European Council of PTAs."
In 1967, he moved to Dallas, where he became the first general counsel to the AAFES.
He later returned to the Pentagon, serving in the secretary of the Army's office.
In 1973, he retired from the Army to be a Dallas assistant city attorney. His duties included teaching at the Dallas Police Academy. He would stay after class to work with recruits who needed tutoring, his wife said. He received a certificate of merit for his efforts.
Col. Seibert was a member of the bar associations in Florida, Texas and Washington, D.C.
He was a charter member of Park Cities Presbyterian Church and a 32nd degree Mason who belonged to the Hillcrest Lodge, the Dallas Scottish Rite and Hella Shrine.
He was a member and past commander of American Legion Post 581 in Dallas.
In addition to his wife, Col. Seibert is survived by two daughters, Constance L. Jones of Navarre, Fla., and Elaine S. Lewis of Dallas; two brothers, William H. Seibert of Danville, Va., and Philip L. Seibert of Winston-Salem, N.C.; a sister, Julia Ann Rankin of Winter Park, Fla.; and one grandchild.
Memorials may be made to the Park Cities Presbyterian Church Building Fund, 4124 Oak Lawn Ave., Dallas, Texas 75219.
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James D. West