Sad Loss: Beloved Country Singer Found Dead at His Home in Texas; He ‘Endured Tremendous Pain & Unthinkable Loss’ in Final Years.

Richard Samet Friedman entered this world in Chicago on November 1, 1944, to parents Dr. S. Thomas Friedman and Minnie (Samet) Friedman, who were of Jewish descent. His parents both had roots in Russia, coming from families that had immigrated to America. Friedman’s family went to the Texas hill country when he was young and opened a summer camp there called Echo Hill.

Friedman developed a passion for both pop music and chess at a young age. At just seven years old, he was selected as one of 50 local players to participate in a simultaneous games tournament in Houston, where he had the opportunity to challenge U.S. grandmaster Samuel Reshevsky. Friedman was by far the youngest player while Reshevsky won all 50 games.

Friedman completed his high school education at Austin High School in Austin, Texas in 1962. In 1966, he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He was part of the Plan II Honors program and also a member of the Tau Delta Phi fraternity. Friedman spent two years in the United States Peace Corps, teaching in Borneo, Indonesia alongside John Gross.

Throughout his time in the Peace Corps, he crossed paths with Dylan Ferrero, who would become his road manager for the rest of his life.Friedman resided at Echo Hill Ranch, a summer camp owned by his family, located near Kerrville, Texas. He established Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, which is also situated near Kerrville. The ranch’s mission is to care for stray, abused and aging animals; more than 1,000 dogs have been saved there from sure death.

In a saddening turn of events, Friedman passed away on June 27, 2024, at his residence in Echo Hill Ranch, Medina. His death was attributed to complications arising from Parkinson’s disease. He was 79 years old.

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