Richard C. Vrooman, 54, an operatic tenor, died Dec. 31 in Liberty, Mo., of cardiac arrest.

A member of a Kansas City singing family, he sang at the fledgling Lyric Opera in K.C. in the late 1950s and ’60s, but he became noted as a lead operatic tenor in Europe. His greatest fame was in Zurich, but he also appeared in other European cities. He sang in Europe as Richard van Vrooman.

Vrooman made more than 25 operatic recordings, two of which won the French Grand Prix du Disque.

He attended Westminster College, Fulton, Mo., and the Kansas City Conservatory of Music, but went to Salzburg in 1958 on a Fulbright scholarship. A recording company contract later won him a year’s study at Salzburg’s Mozarteum conservatory of music.

He gave up singing and returned to Kansas City in the late 1970s and founded Bio-Pharma, marketing luxury skin products made in Switzerland. He later sold that company, and was president of California-based Swiss Cellular Labs when he died.

Survived by two sons, a daughter, his mother and two brothers.

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