Richard died July 5, 2021, of AML leukemia in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Born May 27, 1946, in Tarboro, N.C., Richard earned a bachelor’s degree in physics at Wake Forest University in 1968. At Princeton he earned a Ph.D. in physics in 1974. 

After an early career at the Naval Research Laboratory, Richard joined the faculty at Wake Forest as the Reynolds Professor of Physics, the first endowed professor within the department. An international expert in scintillators and ultrafast laser spectroscopy, Richard increased the reputation and visibility of the Wake Forest physics department by helping to establish a Ph.D. program in the 1980s. He supervised 19 Ph.D. theses and co-authored the authoritative text on self-trapped excitons, as well as more than 250 scientific articles. 

Richard was on the advisory committees of several international conference series and organized the 1996 International Conference on Defects in Insulating Materials held at Wake Forest. After retiring, Richard remained active in research at the Wake Forest Nanotechnology Center. 

One of his early colleagues said, “Richard is always measuring things that go faster and faster.”

Predeceased by his wife, Jean Marie Johnson, Richard is survived by his sister, Linda; three stepchildren; and eight step-grandchildren.

Graduate memorials are prepared by the APGA.

Class Year: 
Graduate Class of 1974