Richard A. Genders was born in London, England, on August 3, 1919, son of William J. and Ann Nelson Penn Genders, and a direct descendant of William Penn.
He received his early education in public schools of London, and in Kokomo and Indianapolis, Indiana. Graduating from Shortride High School, Indianapolis, he had five years’ experience and training at the Indianapolis General Hospital, and the General Electric X-Ray Corporation in Chicago, Illinois. After three years' active service in the US Navy during World War II, he entered art school, graduating, after four years, from the John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, in June 1950, and subsequently studied under John W. Taylor, Edwin L. Fulwider, and Donald M. Mattison. He has exhibited water colors and oils in several national are exhibitions, and has been awarded first, second and third prizes, and one Gold Cup.
Preceding graduation from art school, he was art director and instructor of a fine arts studio with classes studying oil and water color painting and figure drawing, and was associated with the Shelbyville Art League, the Indianapolis Art Association, the Indianapolis Art Students League, Indiana Artists Club, Tidewater Artists Association, and in 1960 wag accepted ag an active member of the Salmagundi Club, New York, an organization of contemporary professional fine artists.
Since August 1947 Lieutenant Genders has exhibited paintings at the Indiana State Fair Arts Exhibition (First prize); Annual Indiana Artists Exhibitions, John Herron Art Museum (First prize, water color); McCormick Galleries; John Hetron Art School; Indiana Artists Club; Annual Poet’s Cornet Oil and Water Color Exhibition; Salmagundi Club, New York; and has had several one—man shows through the country.
He has also exhibited water colors at the Ohio Valley Oil and Water Color Show at Athens, Ohio (Second prize); and paintings at the Annual American Art Week Exhibit, New Castle, Indiana; Annual American Art Week, P.H. Rose Company, Norfolk, Virginia; Officers Club, US Naval Air Station; Tidewater Artists Summer Exhibition; Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences; Annual American Art Week, and the Norfolk Navy YMCA Exhibition (jointly with wife), Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Galerie Realite, Washington, DC.
He has given lectures on Fine Arts, History and Techniques, and on the lives of great painters at various schools, clubs and museums in Indiana and Virginia. He has given lectures at the Norfolk Museum of Fine Arts, the Hermitage Foundation in Norfolk, and William and Mary College, in Norfolk. He has also been a judge for various Fine Arts exhibits and Treasurer for the Art Institute Alumni Association.
His World War II service began with his enlistment on November 16, 1942, as a Pharmacist's Mate, second class, and duty as a therapist and technician in the X-Ray Department of the US Naval Hospital, Great Lakes, Illinois. In April 1943 he was sent to the Lahey Clinic in Boston, Massachusetts, as an instructor of radiology for a civilian class and as assistant to the head radiologist. While there he was promoted to Pharmacist, first class. Upon his return to Great Lakes in September, he requested sea duty and was assigned to the commissioning crew of the USS Newman (DE 205) at Charleston, S.C. He saw action while the NEWMAN performed convoy duty in the North Atlantic, and later in the Mediterranean, and for his personal achievement was commended with recommendation for higher rate.
With the new rating of Chief Pharmacist’s Mate, he was transferred in July 1944 to the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, and sent to Pearl Harbor to help organize the Navy’s first medical and dental repair unit. In that assignment he toured most of the South Pacific, being flown to fleet hospitals and ships to install X—Ray units and medical equipment, and repair damaged equipment to keep X—Rays operating, and was sent to Iwo Jima, Tarawa, and other combat areas to facilitate immediate X-Ray of wounded personnel. After the cessation of hostilities in August 1945, he was returned to Great Lakes, where he was honorably discharged on October 28, 1945.
On May 20, 1947, he reenlisted in US Naval Reserve, and as a member of the Organized Reserves in Indianapolis, had the usual annual training periods as Training Aide Coordinator and Chief Hospitalman until July 1952, when he was designated Draftsman, Illustrator, Chief, the closest rate that was appropriate toward the designation of Combat Artist. He then requested active duty, having spent six years in preparation for a career as a Navy Combat Artist, and in August 1952 was ordered to active duty. He was assigned first to the US Naval Aviation Safety, Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia, as artist for flight safety literature and is the creator of the Naval Aviation Caricature “ANYMOUSE.”
In October 1953 he was selected as an Official US Navy Combat Artist and subsequently, in January 1954, he was transferred to the Combat Art Branch of the Office of Public Information to make paintings of the Fleet and Naval Activities for both Public Relations use and the Navy’s historical record.
His first assignment, February 1954, sent him to the US Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean where he served aboard several vessels, including the aircraft carrier USS Randolph; the heavy cruiser USS Newport News; destroyers USS Hawkins and USS Fiske and others. While aboard the Newport News he was attached to the staff of Commander Sixth Fleet, under Admiral Thomas S. Combs.
He returned to Washington, DC, in June 1954 with a collection of finished paintings and several sketches. In February 1955 he was assigned duty as an Official
Combat Artist covering the evacuation of Formosa, while attached to the SEVENTH Fleet.
In 1957 he designed the International Naval Commemoration Stamp, using the USS Forrestal, Atlantic Fleet carrier as his model. He was present when First Date Cancellations were made during ceremonies on board the USS Saratoga at the Norfolk Navy Yard on June 10, 1957.
On July 9, 1958, he accepted appointment as Lieutenant, USNR, to date from June 4, 1958. After a period of inactive duty, he was recalled in October 1958, to return to the Navy Department for duty in the Office of Information (Combat Art Section.
Lieutenant. Genders has the American Defense Service Medal; the American Campaign Medal; the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two stars; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Modal; the World War Il Victory Medal; the Navy Occupation Service Medal, Europe Clasp; the National Defense Service Medal; and the Good Conduct Medal.