Richard retired from an occupation of general contracting in 2008. He and his wife Jane chose Spearfish as their retirement residence, moving here in 2012.


As a young boy, Richard built models of airplanes, boats, and cars. Additionally, he entered original line drawings and watercolor pieces in local art shows. This affinity for creating matured during his education with courses in drafting, geometry, and physics — leading to a career in civil engineering and construction. Richard also possessed a love of music and began learning to play trombone and piano at the age of thirteen. A classical guitar and lessons followed a year later. Not blessed with the gifts of a natural musician and lacking sufficient mentoring and dedication, his musical avocation took a backseat to building.

After retiring, his love of music and the beauty of the Black Hills inspired Richard to create guitars crafted from cigar boxes recycled as a guitar bodies. Cigar box guitars began in America perhaps as early as the 1700s when some immigrants could not afford commercial instruments. Their creativity and desire to make music prevailed and cigar box guitars were the results.

Richard has combined his desire to build, a love of music, and his artistic inclination into the creation of these folk-art instruments displayed in the Matthews Art Gallery. Pleasing to the eye as well as the ear, they will make music in your arms or on your wall.