Richard grew up in Canton, NC and graduated from Canton High School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
During the Vietnam War Era, Richard served an active-duty assignment in the Navy aboard the aircraft carrier, the USS WASP, working on the staff of JFK's personal Naval Aide. Upon separation from the military, he was employed with Square D Company - now Schneider Electric - as Human Resources Manager for thirty-four years.
The late singer Jimmy Haynie from Canton, who was a National Folk Song champion in the 1950s, was a major influence on Richard. Prior to his military service, he and Jimmy worked together as DJs at radio station WPTL in Canton where Richard gained a great appreciation for country and bluegrass music. Jimmy was a regular entertainer at the Pisgah View Ranch for many years and upon his passing, Richard assumed his spot performing a family show there for 17 years.
During his time at WPTL, Richard promoted local musicians, including the late legendary banjo player, Raymond Fairchild, who became a lifelong friend and musical inspiration. Richard was asked by the Fairchild family to deliver Raymond's eulogy, and he considers it an unequaled honor.
He has served as an MC for the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, the Shindig on the Green, the Lunsford Festival, Folkmoot, and Canton's Labor Day music program.
As an early retiree, Richard has been very involved in volunteer work in Asheville and served on a number of boards across Western North Carolina. He has also become more active with his song writing, recording, and musical performing in retirement.