Richard was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 17, 1932. St. Joseph, Missouri, was his home during infancy but Omaha, Nebraska, was where he grew up. Sports were his passion and later on gave him the key to his college education at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Dick was raised in a staunch midwestern home by his adoptive parents who loved, nurtured, and instilled in him the values that would make him a responsible, committed, and wholesome individual. During his high school years at Benson he played sports; additionally, his mother provided voice lessons for him by Mrs. Virginia Pleiss (Dick’s birth parents were opera performers). As a result, Dick performed at AkSarBen to sing for one of the Miss Nebraska contestants and was later offered a place in the cast of “New Moon” by Sigmund Romberg.
Rather than pursuing this musical career, however, Dick accepted the athletic scholarships in football and baseball offered to him by the University of Colorado. He also participated in CU’s wrestling program. Boulder was his home for the next four years. He was a member in good standing of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and was accepted into an educational honorary society. He graduated in 1953 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education.
To fulfill his military obligation, Dick enlisted in the United States Army where he served from 1953-1956. Upon his release, he returned to the University of Colorado to work on his master’s degree. It was there he met Elizabeth McCarver and they were married in Boulder at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church by Fr. Charles Forsyth, OSB on June 7, 1958, the day after Betty’s graduation.
His teaching career began in Lamar, Colorado, where he coached and taught at Lamar Junior High School for two years. From there he transferred to Southern California to the Los Angeles City School System teaching and coaching at Northridge Junior High School, Reseda High School, Sylmar High School, Hughes Junior High School and Paul Revere Junior High School.
Dick kept in close contact with Colorado’s football staff and was a scout for Coach Bill McCartney during the 1980’s-1990’s. His recruiting efforts found players chosen by CU that later played in the NFL. When Colorado finally beat Nebraska during the regular season the year the Buffaloes won the National Championship in 1990, Dick was given the Game Ball. Supporting CU Football was a passion and joy for Dick and his spouse, who frequently attended both at home and away games.
Retirement years were spent at home in Woodland Hills, California, until leaving for a short transition time in the LaConchita beach house before moving to the ranch in Arroyo Grande where Dick passed away on May 7. He converted to Catholicism in the 1960’s and was a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Arroyo Grande where he was a Eucharistic Minister. Arroyo Grande Community Hospital was where he served with love and commitment for three years until his health deteriorated to the point where he could no longer perform.
May he rest in the peace of Christ.
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