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Richard Lee Deal

February 13, 1938 - May 28, 2020

On Thursday May 28, 2020, Richard Lee Deal, Sr. (Dick Deal) of Mill Spring, North Carolina passed away at Pardee Hospital due to complications from Pneumonia. Dick was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina by his parents Dorothy Kite and Obie Deal. Dick graduated from Lee Edwards High School where he was a member of many clubs and sports teams but was most proud of being a male cheerleader, which he boasted was very forward thinking of him!

Dick went to The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, graduating in 1959 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. His time at the Citadel was one of great joy and accomplishment. Dick took pride in being a “Bulldog” and kept a deep affiliation with the school for the rest of his life. He was often recognized by The Citadel Alumni Foundation as one of the most successful fundraisers because of a golf tournament he started in 1990 at Pinehurst called, “The ’59 Classic.” Dick proudly supported his alma mater in its special mission to “educate principled leaders in all walks of life.”

Upon graduation, Dick began serving our country as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army. His focus was on missile-defense systems and telecommunication networks. While stationed at Stuart Air Force Base, he met his wife, Nancy Lee McDermott who was working for System Development Corporation. SDC is widely considered the first computer software company.
The couple married at St. Patrick’s Church in Newburgh, New York on May 14th, 1961.

Dick was a rising star in systems design and development for the Department of Defense. He was sent West to work on improving legacy systems. Packet switching technology emerged at this time and allowed for more robust networking of national and local computer systems. This innovation in bandwidth led the way to the ARPANET which then gave way to the Internet and World Wide Web. Dick was in the middle of it all and had an insatiable appetite for emerging technology in systems design. After stints in Cheyenne, Wyoming and Santa Monica, California, the couple moved back East and settled in Fairfax, Virginia to raise their family and build their businesses.

After serving in the US Army, Dick stayed in the military-industrial complex with defense contractors The MITRE Corporation and General Dynamics. It was during this time that he began developing a business plan to launch his own consulting firm, Richard L. Deal & Associates, Inc. Dick remained true to his military roots but branched out to attract other clients in a variety of sectors. The success of R. L. Deal & Associates led to the start of his second and third companies, Network Strategies, Inc. and Systems Technology Forum. At the height of his career, Dick’s client roster included American Express, Bank of America, VISA, and of course, the Federal government. Dick’s reputation and successful track record caught the attention of the largest business-consulting firms who were eager to add skills or eliminate competition. Dick saw an opportunity and negotiated his exit strategy through the sale of his companies to Ernst & Young in 1989. Dick would remark that a key to his success was the ability to take complex things and present them in simple terms. A trait that is unusual for engineers. However, it was more than this that led the Tau Beta Pi Association to recognize and honor Dick for his 30 years of professional accomplishment in the field of engineering.

Upon early retirement at the age of 50, Dick spent time at his beloved Citadel as a guest lecturer, picked his mandolin and guitar relentlessly, and played a lot of golf while fulfilling a non-compete agreement with Ernst & Young. In 1993, Dick was recruited to become President of Secession Golf Club in Beaufort, South Carolina. It was in Beaufort that Dick says he achieved his greatest personal and professional accomplishment. He would become known as the “Savior of Secession” for his efforts to take the insolvent club with $5 million of debt and turn it into one of the top golf courses in the country. Dick’s work at Secession included eliminating legal challenges by turning the Club’s debt into equity and creating operational efficiency. Dick designed and built the impressive Lowcountry Clubhouse along with developing the Blue Gray Estates. The most important accomplishment Dick had at Secession Golf Club was increasing it’s membership from 150 to the maximum limit of 750. Well played, sir!

When Dick officially retired, again, he settled permanently on top of a mountain in the Blue Ridge outside of his childhood hometown of Asheville, North Carolina. He would spend the rest of his days celebrating life with his many friends and family. He made his mark and will be greatly missed by those who shared time with him along his journey.

Dick is survived by his five children: Richard Deal jr., Elizabeth Swedish, Jennifer Tracy, Patricia Deal and Timothy Deal; as well as his seven grandchildren.

Family and friends will gather on the first anniversary of his passing for a celebration of life remembrance.

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