Richard Tooker – March 24, 2020

Richard was born in Waco at the old Providence Hospital on January 5, 1942. He was preceded in death by his father, OW “Bubba” Tooker; mother, Myrtis Applegate, both of Waco; and brother, Thomas W. Tooker of Tyler, TX.

Richard attended South Waco Elementary School, Dean Highland Elementary, North Junior High, and Waco High. At Waco High he was elected the Mayor of Student Government for the Class of 1960. Richard attended Baylor University, majoring in journalism and broadcasting. In 1962, he began a short career as a Top 40 DJ at WACO Radio station. He left the “glamorous” world of radio to work for Paul Meyer at Success Motivation Institute in Waco, planning and executing sales meetings, conferences, and conventions for distributors. In 1970, his career took off in the newly burgeoning field of direct marketing. He learned the business at Direct Mail Corporation of America, then moved to Peoria Il, to work for the first company offering Database Marketing services. The rapid expansion of computers powerful enough to manipulate large quantities of data led to a marketing explosion. Richard became Executive VP of what was at the time a premier database marketing company in the US. He ended his career with Wunderman Data Management in Dallas, part of WPP Group in London, the world’s largest marketing communications company.

An accomplished writer, Richard published one business book entitled, “The Business of Database Marketing”. He also wrote a science fiction novel, “The Titicaca Effect”. Richard lived in Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago, Peoria, Philadelphia, and Chico, CA, before returning to Waco after he retired in January, 2019. He spent a brief time volunteering with Fuzzy Friends Rescue in Waco, writing the online dog biographies. Richard was a talented artist and he loved to scuba dive.

Richard is survived by his wife of 33 years, Victoria; Aunt Emily Tooker-Blake of Waco; cousins, Max Tooker and Harry Tooker of Waco, Sharon Odell of Richardson, TX; nephew, Todd Tooker of Tyler, TX; and devoted dogs, Peanut and Casper. In lieu of cards or flowers, please make a donation in Richard’s name to Fuzzy Friends Rescue, Waco, TX. Due to the circumstances we live in today, there will not be a service at this time, but one may occur in the future. A portion of Richard’s remains will be sent to space on a future SpaceX mission where his capsule will orbit the earth for about two years before re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. This is the adventure trip of a lifetime that he gladly would have made during his time on this earth.

24 comments on “Richard Tooker – March 24, 2020

  1. Betty Barkley Flowers – Thanks for a very sad update! Just so many of our WHS friends or acquaintances have died in the last year or two.

  2. David Dibb – Thanks for the updates, and for the story you got him to do.  He was a very interesting guy, and took life as it came.

  3. Tim Lasseter Latta – Jeanne, I can hardly believe this.  He was so jovial (typically) and positive at the last luncheon.  He went the way we all wish to go, and I’m so happy for him in that regard.  He was a great friend.  I so wish we could all attend a memorial service for him.  There would be great stories. John will let his brother Paul know.  Paul, Dick and Ron Sommer used to hang out together a lot in Dallas.

  4. Bob Easter – This hits home so hard. Richard and I had a lifelong friendship where we would call and talk not too often but it was always like we had seen each other yesterday. We never know of the path the Lord has for us, do we. When he was doing Radio in High School he invited me to come along and without me knowing introduced me to the audience and wanted a few words. I froze up and said maybe a one or two word response. We both laughed about years and years later. Damn, not a good day. I had been sending him emails, had not heard back. Was going to call but got busy. 

  5. Karon Shinault Jackson – I am very sorry to learn of his passing. He sat with Mary Ann, Eleanor and I when he came to the last luncheon. They enjoyed being with him as did I. I had the opportunity to tell him that I had read his book, Titicaca, as well as that of his wife, Museums, Moses and Murder, and enjoyed both of them. I am sad that he is no longer with us.

  6. Dave Walsworth – So sorry to hear this. We were friends at our time at WHS. I knew him then as Dick Tooker. It was great to read his Show and Tell article. 

  7. Jeanne Holland Harman
 – I was so saddened when Sharon McCarthy Odell, Richard’s cousin, called me to tell me about his passing. I was in Senior Chorus with Dick-that is what he went by back in the “olden days”. He was always so jovial and upbeat and fun to be around. I shall never forget his great performance as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz. Dick played the role perfectly altho there was nothing cowardly about him. He will surely be missed. It is just heart-breaking that he is gone but he went peacefully in his sleep. What a blessing- That would be the way I would choose to go

  8. Bev Murphy Wells – So sorry and shocked to hear about Richard Tooker.  It seems that he had just let us know he was doing better after his last prognosis.  I had really enjoyed reading his Show and Tell.  So glad he made his way back home to Waco.  My prayers to Victoria and his family. 

  9. Malissa Ruth Starnes Baugh – This makes me so dad! I loved Dick and will always remember him as my Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz our senior year! Prayers for his family!

  10. Linda Phelps McKee – Thanks for letting me know. I have some great memories when he was Mayor and I was a commissioner. It was a really special time, and he was a special friend. May he Rest In Peace.

  11. Kay Phillips Sparks – I am very sorry to hear about Dick and sorry that he and Victoria weren’t in Waco very long before this happened. It is good that we had a chance to hear about Dick’s life in the January Town Crier.

  12. Mickey Lavy – Lately, I have been thinking about the phrase ”have gavel, will travel”.  In about 1956 , that was the campaign slogan of one of my favorite politicians.  I don’t remember what office Richard Tooker (not a Dick) was running for (student council prez, I think) , nor whether he won the race.  I do remember Dick as a friend because he was friendly to everyone and I felt included as a friend.    Victoria: I bought the LAKE TITICACA EFFECT  by R. Tooker for two reasons.  One reason was that it had a funny name.  The other reason was that it was by Richard and I knew he always had a great imagination.  I made sure he knew I had bought one new (last reunion).  If only we could all get together, it would be quite a party.  Please accept our sympathy.

  13. From Victoria Tooker: It means a lot to me that Richard was so well loved by his classmates. And I forgive you all for calling him Dick! Thanks for sending all the wonderful comments & pictures. I look at the pictures & it just doesn’t seem possible that he’s gone. He had been very sick but he always bounced back. I’m truly shocked. The pictures reminded me how glad I was that he cut off the ponytail!!! He had lost sight in one eye with the stroke & I said, Hey, let’s do something rebellious, just to prove that we can still do it! He had always wanted to grow a ponytail. So that
    was it! There was no stopping him. I can’t even remember what I did, so it must not have been too rebellious. Everything he did was with great gusto, and a smile. I miss that. He was a gentle giant and his absence is stunning. But boy do I have some great memories!!!
    Btw, I came to a reunion many years ago. Richard asked, “Do I look as old as the rest of these people?” I said “Yes.” That was my last reunion! With love, Victoria

  14. From Dave Pettus: Dick was such a good guy and good friend. As Melissa Starnes also recalled, he was a stellar part of the Wizard of Oz production as the cowardly lion. Fare thee well, Dick, and thanks for the memories…

  15. Gwen Ewing Hodges – Dick was one of a kind and I remember him letting us sneak into WACO to watch him in the sound booth! Wish he could have seen my daughter at work as a radio news anchor where then equip is so good don’t have to be in a
    booth, life is so short for all and especially for your Bill, way too brief💕 .

  16. Stan Lennard – Over the years I have stood in awe learning of the extraordinary lives, careers and accomplishments of so many of our former classmates (perhaps all of them), certainly Dick. I ask the question, what accounts for this? What was it about
    our teachers, classmates, our community, our town, our beloved state that contributed to it? To what extent was it our coming to know of our abiding Creator and Savior who guided our respective destinies? I would enjoy hearing from all about what they believe accounts for it. God knows we as grand and great grand parents need to do what we can in our remaining years to restore that essence into the lives of our youth, our children, our teachers, community, towns and states. I am so proud, good Waco Tigers all!

  17. Bev Murphy Well – Richard will live on circling the earth in grand fashion! What a thought provoking concept!

  18. Annita Incardona Henson – I was so very sad to hear about Richard Tooker. He wrote to me on Facebook just about a month ago right after he had had those tests and I congratulated him for not being too bad off. Little did we know. Too many classmates are dying.

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