Dr. Richard L. Fleming

Born:                 March 19, 1934
Died:                 May 1,2021

Turtle Years:   1981-1986
Section:           Artistic Director, Board of Directors

A Turtle’s Tribute:

FLEMING, Richard Lee Richard passed away peacefully at his home in Richardson, Texas on May 1, 2021 at the age of 87. Born March 19, 1934 in Champaign, IL, Richard was raised by his loving parents David Ross and Eulalia Pearl Fleming.

Richard was co-valedictorian at Bement High School (’52), earned his BA at Trinity College (’56) and MTh at Garrett Theological Seminary where he met and married his wife of 63+ years Katherine Kay Peters and was ordained an Elder in the Methodist Church in 1961.

He served pastorates in Illinois until ’66 and then earned an MSM degree from SMU in 1970. He served as Minister of Music at Grace UMC in Des Moines, IA from 1968 to 1972 and at First UMC, Richardson, TX until his retirement in 1999. He was an accomplished choral conductor and organist and a member of the Choristers Guild and American Guild of Organists. His adult choirs performed many master works and toured Europe three times. He also directed the Chapel Singers Youth choir and inspired countless youth to pursue careers in music and ministry.

He earned a D. Min degree at SMU in 1979 and served as director of the Turtle Creek Chorale from 1982 1984. Richard and Kay were devoted parents to David, Anne, and John who are forever grateful for the love, guidance, and support of their parents.

He was preceded in death by his Parents, Parents-in-law Charles and Emma Peters, brothers Carl and Jerry. He is survived by his wife Kay, his sister Lois Ann Comer, his children, daughter-in-law Amy, son-in-law Clifford, daughter-in-law Rona, grandchildren Thomas, Matthew, Peter, Victoria, and Emma and great-grandchildren Isabella and Violet. We love you and miss you Daddy-Rich!

A private memorial service will be held at First United Methodist in Richardson, TX, on Saturday, May 8, 2021 at 11:00 am CDT. The service will be live-streamed so that all those whose lives were enriched by Richard’s ministry will have the chance to join us in some way. Please visit the FUMCR website for more information. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Music Ministry of FUMCR in Richard’s memory.


A Turtle’s History

Dr. Richard L. Fleming

Bio from program of July 1982 concert,

The Music of America – 1982:
Dr. Richard L. Fleming (Musical Director and Conductor) is Minister of Music at First United Methodist Church of Richardson, where he administrates a music ministry involving 450 persons. A native of Illinois,
Dr. Fleming was educated at Trinity College of Connecticut where he received honors in classical languages, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, head of the Society of Student Carilloneurs.

In 1961 he received the Master of Theology degree from Garrett Theological Seminary, was ordained in the
United Methodist Church and served as pastor of rural churches in Illinois for six years. From 1966 to 1968 he resided in Dallas and worked toward the degree of Master of Sacred Music at Southern Methodist University, which was awarded in 1970. After serving as Minister of Music at Grace United Methodist Church, Des Moines, Iowa for four years, he was appointed Minister of Music at the 6300 member First United Methodist Church of Richardson in 1972. Recent performances of major choral works conducted
by Dr. Fleming at First United Methodist Church of Richardson included Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Britten’s Nicolas, a choreographed performance of Pfautsch’s Day for Dancing, Durufle’s Requiem and Bach’s Christ Lap inTodeshanden. Dr. Fleming is a member of the American Guild of Organists, and is program chair-person of the Dallas Chapter of the Chorister’s Guild.

October 1999 – A native of Illinois, Richard Fleming received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in classics from Trinity College (Connecticut) in 1956; the Bachelor of Divinity degree from Garrett Theological Seminary (Evanston, Illinois) in 1961; the Master of Sacred Music and Doctor of Ministry degrees from
Southern Methodist University in 1970 and 1980 respectively.
He served rural pastorates in Illinois, and as Minister of Music in Des Moines, Iowa (1968-72). He retired June 1, 1999, after 27 years as Ministerof Music at First United Methodist Church in Richardson, Texas.

During his tenure there the Chancel Choir of the church made concert tours in England, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France. His final concert with the choir took place in Chartres Cathedral last June. As the second director of the Turtle Creek Chorale, he served for two years.

Dr. Fleming has done some composing and arranging through the years, and hopes to spend more time in those endeavors in his retirement years. He also plans to “hang out his shingle” for substitute organ playing and choral directing.

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