Richard Alvaro Esperon, 97, of Asheville, NC passed away on February 6, 2019.
Richard was born in New York City on August 3, 1921, to Spanish immigrants, Luis and Pilar Esperon. After the death of his mother in 1922, he was raised, along with his brother and five cousins, by his Uncle and Aunt, Pedro and Felicia Escandon. The extended family lived among other immigrant families in Rahway, NJ. His early exposure to many cultures, as well as being raised in a bilingual home influenced his desire to work in international settings.
In 1942 Richard enlisted in the US Navy. He served for two years aboard the battleship USS Texas. He performed the role of “Captain’s Speaker” relaying messages between the Captain and ten key battle stations.
In 1944 he was one of three enlisted men from the battleship selected for officer training. As part of the V-12 Navy College Training Program he was sent to Dartmouth College and graduated in 1946. He then earned a MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth in 1947.
After leaving Dartmouth, Richard joined the International Division of Eastman Kodak Company. In his 36-year career he traveled and worked extensively throughout the world, holding managerial posts in the Philippines, Colombia, Portugal and Spain. He returned to the US in 1966 where he worked as General Manager to Africa, Asia and the Middle East. In 1980 he became Manager of Kodak Mexico before retiring in 1984. Upon his retirement Richard and Mary Jo moved to Asheville, NC where they enjoyed the company of many good friends.
Richard Esperon will also be remembered as a beloved husband and father. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Mary Jo, and his daughters Pilar (Edgar Greene) and Patricia (Bram Sorgman) and four grandchildren, Cade, Eleanor, Ava and Benno, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the staff of Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community, as well as Richard’s personal caretakers, for their extraordinary kindness and care.
Contributions can be made in his name to the Battleship Texas Foundation at One Riverway, Suite 2200, Houston, TX 77056 or battleshiptexas.org.