In Loving Memory of RICHARD 4/3/31 to 9/22/90
Many years ago a good friend gave that plaque to my husband and it described him perfectly. He left this earth too early, and with many dreams unfulfilled, but it wasn’t from lack of trying.
Dick was a photographer in New York City when I met him. He had just left “Life” magazine and was starting out on his own. He had a wonderful eye and a very creative bent. He would have made great inroads in that field if he could have persevered, but it entailed a lot of traveling and his health prevented that.
We moved to the country and started a new life. Then in 1978 we made our final move to the Sandhills area of North Carolina. Side effects of the diabetes that was to plague Dick’s life began to surface and he underwent a triple heart bypass in 1980. At that time “they” told him he’d be lucky to live another 5 years, but he fooled them and he thoroughly enjoyed doing it! He worked hard at staying alive. He loved life and he met each challenge head on. He was a fighter, my Richard.
He was a tough man and not always the easiest to live with because he made hard choices...the old-fashioned kind like right over wrong and good over bad...and he expected those near him to do the same. There were few gray areas in Dick’s world, but he felt deeply and he was strangely gentle in his toughness.
His avocation was teaching. In the early ‘70’s he was a founding member of the East Clinton Rescue Squad in NY and this was the basis for his life-long association and love of rescue work. He became an EMT instructor and then an Instructor-trainer. Even in death he continued to teach, since he donated his entire body to the scientific research department of UNC.
In June of 1989 Dick made his most courageous decision. He knew that his time was getting short and he did not want his children to be left with an alcoholic mother and all that it would entail. I was very much in denial and probably would never have admitted to needing help if they had not forced the issue.
Interventions don’t always go so well and they were taking a big chance…but it paid off. I was gone for a month but when I came home I had started the long trek back to sobriety and I have not veered from the path. That was more than 17 years ago and hardly a day passes that I don’t thank Dick for the sacrifice he made.
Sickness robbed Richard of a long life but it did not rob him of the love and respect of his family and fellow man.