June 9, 1940 - February 4, 2014
Richard Niles Tonnesen of Richardson, Texas was born in Dubuque, Iowa, June 9, 1940 and passed away peacefully February 4, 2014 at the age of 73. A memorial service will be held at the First United Methodist Church of Coppell on Friday, Feb 7, 2014 at 10:00 AM with a reception immediately following.
Richard was preceded in death by his father, William Andrew Tonnesen and his mother, Rose Marie (Riedi) Tonnesen. He is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Janet Ann (Fischer) Tonnesen, two children, son Steven (Cindee) Tonnesen and daughter Diane (Greg) Walter and two granddaughters, Lauren and Katie Walter.
Richard joined the Naval Reserve Training Center as he began his senior year in high school in 1957. Richard graduated from the University of Dubuque in 1962 with a Bachelor Degree in Physics. He attended US Naval Officer Candidate School and received his commission as a United States Naval Officer in August, 1962. He served 3 years active duty in the Navy, serving on the island of Adak, Alaska and at a Naval Facility Base in Ferndale, California. After resigning his commission in 1965 he came to Dallas, Texas and worked for several years at Texas Instruments. While in the Navy he became very interested in computers and learned he had a special knack for programming computers. He subsequently worked for Raldon Home Developer, writing programs for their accounting and construction scheduling and development. Later he worked for Harris Communications, Harris Adacom, and retired from Open Connect in 2001.
Richard was a gentle, quiet, softly spoken man with a keen sense of humor and an unquenchable interest in science and history. Richard’s interest in electronics and mechanics and his desire to own his own computer in the early 70’s led him to design and build a piano roll reader and piano roll perforator and write the programs to run the equipment. What started out as a hobby became a part-time business (mostly a labor of love) of punching paper piano rolls for collectors of various types of player and reproducing pianos.
Richard was diagnosed in 1998 with Parkinson’s Disease and the progression of the disease made it difficult to maintain the equipment and 30 years after punching its first piano rolls, the Custom Music Rolls perforator ceased production in Richardson. The machinery now resides in San Antonio and is still producing paper piano rolls.
The family would like to thank the staff at Presbyterian Village North for the loving care they gave him during the past 15 months. He was loved. He will be missed.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to http://www.parkinsonvoiceproject.org.
Arrangements are under the direction of:
ARIA Cremation Service & Funeral Home
19310 Preston Road, Dallas, Texas 75252