Dieter Roland Wachter passed away peacefully at his home on July 8, 2022 with his beloved wife of 50 years, Erika, and two children, Stephen and Karen, by his side. His death was caused by complications related to Parkinson’s Disease, which he battled in the last years of his life with Erika’s steadfast support. He was 78.
Dieter was born in Berne, Switzerland to Alfred and Käthe Wachter and moved to New York City in 1965. It was there that he met Erika, who had immigrated to the U.S. from Germany. The couple married in 1972 in NYC and settled in Darien shortly afterwards, where they have lived for 47 years.
In 1976, he joined Clark-Schwebel Fiberglas Corp. (n/k/a Hexcel Corp.), a manufacturer of industrial fabrics for aerospace. He was responsible for the sales and marketing of advanced materials, specifically ballistic fabrics for law enforcement and military applications (Kevlar), until his retirement at age 65. His keen eye for detail and dry sense of humor served him well throughout his career. Dieter was a member of the National Armor Advisory Board and was appointed to serve on the Technology Assessment Advisory Council of the Office of Technology Assessment, an office of the U.S. Congress.
Dieter’s company relocated from White Plains to Anderson/Greenville, South Carolina in 1992, when Stephen and Karen were still attending schools in Darien. In order to avoid uprooting his family, he made the weekly commute to South Carolina for 14 years, even after his children had gone off to college. His willingness to do so is illustrative of his strong work ethic and dedication to his family.
Although he spent the majority of his life in the U.S., Dieter’s affection for Switzerland was ever-present. He traveled there often with Erika, and the family spent many summers in Pontresina when Stephen and Karen were young, instilling in them the same love of hiking and good chocolate. Dieter and Erika loved traveling, exploring new places, and experiencing different cultures. He enjoyed hiking, skiing, and tennis throughout his life and remained active after his Parkinson’s diagnosis, playing pickleball at nearby Weed Beach. Dieter had an understated generosity and intellect; he gave without the need for recognition and was an avid reader of nonfiction, the NY Times, and the Swiss Review.
Dieter is survived by his beloved wife, Erika, son Stephen (Christine) Wachter of Wilton, daughter Karen (Stoney) Howell of Texas, and four grandchildren (Claire, Matthew, William, and Hunter). He is also survived by his stepmother, Georgette Wachter, of Switzerland, to whom he was close since childhood, as well as three sisters, Monica Fischer, of South Africa, Irena (Mario) Kyd, of New Jersey, and Beatrice (Gabor) Suetsch of Switzerland, and seven nieces and nephews.
Condolences can be sent to Erika Wachter, c/o Lawrence Funeral Home, 2119 Post Road, Darien, Connecticut, 06820. A remembrance will be held in Switzerland at a later date.