Richard (“Dickie”) Osborn LeMaire was born in 1947 in Greenwich, Connecticut. Except for his blond hair he was a younger version of his father with his round face and impish grin. As a young teenager, he terrorized his two younger sisters—Dorinda, eleven, and Diana, ten—playing tricks on them, but he was so much fun his sisters loved him anyway. All three children attended the Rye Country Day School.
Dickie was an extremely bright thirteen-year-old who had had endured severe physical adversity. At age nine, doctors diagnosed a staph infection in his leg. He spent two months at United Hospital in Rye and eventually spent four months at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, where the doctors fought to prevent further bone disintegration. After recovering from the disease, Dickie went to a summer camp in Colorado to strengthen his leg. There, he fell in love with the magnificent rocks, which began his obsession with geology. Although Dickie excelled academically, school authorities suspended him in December 1960 because of boredom-induced mischief. This action put into play the plan for Dickie to fly with his father to Prague, in addition to weeks of travel in other European countries.