When she was growing up in Pennsauken, her family didn't have a piano, so the former Ada Schulze taught herself to play at neighbors' houses and on the pianos at school. After she finally persuaded her parents to allow her to take lessons, she suffered through teachers who could scarcely play themselves or who read the newspaper while she played.
That rocky start inspired her interest in teaching young people a painless way to learn piano. As a third-grade teacher in Camden, she became adept at rearranging classics, including plays and nursery rhymes, in ways that were entertaining for children.
It was her husband, Alfred Carl Richter, a classically trained musician
from Austria, who got her to write down the songs she had composed for her third graders.
Mrs. Richter sold her first piece, "The Clock," to a New York publishing firm in 1934. In 1937, Ada Richter's Kindergarten Class Book was published by Theodore Presser Publishers in Philadelphia. Although the book reached five editions in its first year, Mrs. Richter's earnings were less than $50.
She went on to publish dozens of instructional books for piano, voice and organ. The Ada Richter Piano Course, originally bought by Warner Bros., is still in print by Harms Publishing Inc. of New York.
Eventually, Mrs. Richter developed her own method of piano instruction, one that got children to use the entire keyboard rather than just the middle octaves. She traveled around the country lecturing on her piano technique. ''She was very entertaining, a great speaker," her son said.
Mrs. Richter studied at the Philadelphia Academy of Music. She received her teaching license from New Jersey State Teachers College.
She was a member of Grace Episcopal Church in Merchantville.
Her husband died in 1980.
Survivors besides her son include a daughter, Barbara Glick of Sea Isle City, N.J.; five grandchildren; three great-grandchildren, and two sisters.
Services will be tomorrow, with visitation at 11 a.m. and the funeral at noon at Stephenson-Brown Funeral Home, 33 W. Maple Ave., Merchantville.