Robert Lanter was born in Richmond, KY and lived in various locations throughout his life. While a teenager, he and his family moved to DeLand, FL, but they later moved back to Richmond at which point Robert enlisted in the United States Navy. He served on a patrol craft in the Pacific theater near the end of the war, and he continued to work for military companies after his discharge. He and his father also operated their own automotive repair business for nearly 20 years in Richmond. He was an avid collector of rare coins and weapons, and he also enjoyed photography and developing his own photos along with metal detecting.