Dick was born on November 1, 1934, in Grand Island, Nebraska, to Tom Sharpe and Dora Bebout Sharpe. After the death of his mother in 1937, he lived with his grandparents in South Dakota and California. Dick graduated from High School in Lewistown Montana, and later from the University of Nebraska, Omaha. He enlisted in the United States Air Force (USAF) in July of 1952 and was trained as an Airborne Radio Operator serving at Stead Air Force Base, Reno NV and Wheelus Air Force Base, Tripoli Libya. He joined the USAF Aviation Cadet Program in 1954 and graduated as a Second Lieutenant Pilot in June of 1955. After completing advanced fighter pilot training, Dick was assigned to Turner AFB, Albany, GA for his first operational fighter pilot assignment where he met and married Doris Chambers.
During the next 19 years, Dick completed fighter pilot assignments, which included operations in Italy, Germany, Alaska, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Vietnam and headquarters assignments in Hawaii and Virginia. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Air Force after serving 21 years in February 1974.
After retiring he went on to work at Control Data, Minneapolis, MN, LTV/Loral/Lockheed Martin in Program Management and part time computer teaching at TCCC.