Rick Rescorla and his first wife, Betsy, met as students at the University of Oklahoma. They married in Dallas in 1972. Hill was Rescorla’s best man. The Rescorlas’ first child was born in South Carolina in 1976 and their second 1978, while they lived in Chicago. The family moved to New Jersey.
In 1994, Rescorla was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent surgery to remove his prostate. Initially, the prognosis was positive, but by 1998 the cancer had spread to his bone marrow. He underwent treatment, which involved painful injections directly into his stomach every month, and pills that dehydrated him and caused his body to swell. He also employed Chinese holistic medicine and meditation.
Rescorla met his second wife, Susan Greer, an assistant to a dean at Fairleigh Dickinson University and twice-divorced mother of three daughters, in late July 1998 while jogging near her Morristown, New Jersey, home. Rescorla had been living in the area to be near his children, and Susan first spoke to him to ask him why he was jogging barefoot, an activity he picked up in Rhodesia, where few natives had worn shoes, and which he had begun out of curiosity. Rescorla also mentioned to her that he was writing a play, M’kubwa Junction, which was set in Rhodesia, and based on his time there. The two moved into a Morristown townhouse together that October and married on February 20, 1999 in St. Augustine, Florida, where Hill, who had lived there since 1975, would again serve as best man. Rescorla chose St. Augustine because he wanted to be married somewhere near the sea, to remind him of his home county of Cornwall. They later honeymooned in Hayle, England, in May 2000. During this time Rescorla exhibited a positive outlook about his cancer.
In addition to Arabic, Rescorla, fond of the food and the warm ambiance of the Portuguese community in Newark, New Jersey, was also learning to speak Portuguese. He was also fascinated with the American West, and was interested in experiencing the spiritual aspects of Indian culture. He and Susan also participated in yoga, ballroom dancing and studying Italian together.
Rescorla was survived by his wife, Susan, his two children and his three stepdaughters by Susan. Rescorla had requested that he be cremated and have his ashes strewn in Hayle. Having revered the eagle as a symbol of both American freedom and Native American mysticism, he had also told Susan that when he died he wanted her to contribute money to an endowment for eagles.