Richard M. Dressler, 80, of Devon, a retired psychologist, died from complications of Alzheimer's disease, Wednesday, May 25, at home.
Dr. Dressler was director of the Villanova University Student Counseling Center from 1968 to 1976 and then was chief psychologist at Graterford Prison until retiring in 1990.
He grew up with five older siblings in Germantown and graduated from North Catholic High School.
From 1952 to 1954, he was an Army photographer.
After his discharge, he earned a bachelor's degree from Villanova University, where he met his future wife, Mary Buckley, a nursing student.
Dr. Dressler earned a master's degree in education in 1961 and a doctoral degree in counseling psychology in 1968 from Temple University. While pursuing graduate studies, he helped establish the counseling center at St. Joseph's University and interviewed students there for his dissertation, which researched the needs, interests, and curriculum choices of male students.
When he was stationed with the Army in Trieste, Italy, he cultivated a love of opera and sang in a local church choir there, his wife said. In college, he was a member of the Villanova Singers, an all-male chorus, and he was a longtime member of the St. Monica Church Choir in Berwyn. He was a 30-year subscriber to the Opera Company of Philadelphia, attended Philadelphia Orchestra concerts at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, and supported the Pennsylvania Ballet.
As a youngster, he helped tend his family's victory garden during World War II, and he later grew organic vegetables before it was a trend, his wife said.
He kept in contact with people he met while in the Army and visited them on a trip to Italy. He was an avid reader of the classics and a crossword puzzle enthusiast, and he enjoyed watching the change of seasons while looking out over the wetland from their second home in Avalon Manor, N.J., his wife said.
In addition to his wife of almost 50 years, Dr. Dressler is survived by daughters Theresa Castle and Mary Dressler-Carré and a son, Robert; a sister; and six grandchildren.
A Funeral Mass will be said at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, May 31, at St. Monica Roman Catholic Church, 635 First Ave., Berwyn, Pa. 19312. Friends may call from 9:15 a.m. Burial will be in the church cemetery.
Donations may be made to the St. Monica Church Music Fund.