(Richard) Ernest Thompson was born on November 6, 1949, in Bellows Falls, Vermont. His parents were Theron, a college professor and administrator, and Esther, a teacher. Esther played the piano and the violin, instilling the importance of music in their home. Thompson spent his early childhood in New Hampshire and Massachusetts and his teenage years in Maryland. His family often visited a lake in Maine during the summers.
Thompson attended the University of Maryland (1967–1968), Colorado College (1969), and Catholic University (1970) and received his bachelor's degree in 1971...
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