Written by Dennis Grubb
I knew Richard extremely well, as his big brother, Robert Ashcraft (MHS 1958) was the Bass Player in our band, THE MYSTICS. Their father Bill worked out at Terminal for the U.S. Weather Bureau and their mother, June, worked in the administrative offices at Cowden Jr. High. She was a very cool lady and an absolute hoot to be around.
She was always willing to cook dinner for all of the band members when we could go over to their big den to practice our music.The family was an extraordinary bunch to say the least. They didn’t make a lot of money, lived on Cedar St., close to Austin Jr.High, but they were all very intelligent people. Many thought Richard was a “brick short of a full load” due to his speech impediment (he had somehow fallen on his head as a youngster which in some way affected him), but he was actually very smart. His brother Robert was an absolute genius. He was a Whiz at math, and became a major contributor and senior technician/scientist at the PanTex weapons plant in Amarillo. He eventually retired from them and still lives in Amarillo.
Richard never went to college, bounced around at various odd jobs (as no one actually took his intellect seriously). He was once involved in a bad car crash, survived, but his friend with him died, which devastated him. He later on worked as an overall utility and deliveryman for Gool Office Supply in Midland. Both Gary Gool, and is Dad, Joe Gool, were very kind and accommodating to him, as they understood his situation.
Later on Richard moved to an area in the Northwest, like Idaho or Oregon (I forget which). He died there. He endured tough breaks in life and thus deserves some positive recognition.