Richard Charles Dieter
Richard (Rich) Charles Dieter, 68, of Pittsburgh, PA, passed away November 28th, 2020 after a heart attack.
Born to Roland and Martha (née Bierman) Dieter in 1952, Rich grew up in Cherryville, PA with his older twin siblings, Roland (Buddy) and Raedell Stothoff and surrounded by Dieter, Bierman and Koch relatives. Rich lost his father at age four. His mother raised him in PA’s Lehigh Valley with his large extended family nearby.
Rich graduated from Northampton High School in 1970, received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Valparaiso University, and a Masters in Divinity from University of Chicago. He was a proud member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. As a young man he sang both choral music and barbershop quartet music and played numerous brass instruments, primarily baritone horn and cornet. If you asked him, and more likely even if you didn’t, he would gladly sing the barbershop and classical songs of his high school and college years and still remembered all the words. Rich cherished his dogs when he was younger, and then was introduced to cats, and came to adore his cats as his middle and later years’ companions.
Rich’s commitment to social justice and his love of music guided him throughout his life. His career spanned multiple states and a variety of interests, from prominent community organizer in Chicago at Organization of the North East in the 70s and 80s, musician manager, restaurant/tavern/music room co-owner in the 80s, fundraising and community development consultant in Vermont and Pittsburgh from late 80’s onward, and then more recently back into the music world as the founder and president of the Bridge Music Hall, a dream he worked towards for the last several years of his life.
Rich relished time with friends and family throughout his life. He was a proud father to Amara, born in Vermont during the family's five years living there, and Cary, born in Pittsburgh. He loved cheering on his children through their various pursuits, enjoying his role as football and dance dad. A singer and musician himself, he made sure his children were brought up on the essential genres: folk music and Monty Python. Like Rich, they learned all the words and enjoyed many car ride sing-a-longs with their dad. Despite numerous health struggles in recent years, Rich laughed loudly and often. His many friends knew a phone call was never far off. Rich had the gift for great conversation, bringing people together, and a deep commitment to staying in touch with friends across years and miles. He had a quick wit, freely offered his strong opinions, and reminiscing and telling stories and jokes filled many an evening with those he knew and loved.
Rich is preceded in death by his parents Roland and Martha, and brother Buddy. He is survived by his two children, Amara Dieter (fiancé Patrick Harvey), and Cary Dieter (fiancée Brittany McCracken), his sister Raedell, his ex-wife, co-parent, and friend Ann Urwin, as well as cousins, nieces, nephews, and more friends than we could possibly list on a single page.
A celebration of Rich’s life will be held sometime in 2021 when it is safe for us all to gather, hug, laugh, and cry together. As you might expect, the event will feature music, readings, and storytelling. In the meantime, please share thoughts, stories, memories, and photos of Rich on this page.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a memorial contribution could be made to Sweet Relief Musician’s Fund (https://www.sweetrelief.org/) or another charity of your choosing.
“We all go to different churches or no churches, we have different favorite foods, different ways of making love, different ways of doing all sorts of things. But there we’re all singing together. Gives you hope.”
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