Richard’s parents, LeRoy “Buck” Pryor and Gertrude Thomas, were married on Christmas Eve in 1943, one week before Buck was due to report for the Army. Richard was already three years old.

Such marriages were common in the immediate run-up to military service. Without the marriage, Richard’s mother would not have been eligible for the $70 monthly allotment that the federal government disbursed to military wives, and would not have been eligible for widow’s benefits if Richard’s father had been killed in the war.