Rich -- a most wonderful man
Richard John Puz
  • 67 years old
  • Date of birth: Oct 4, 1948
  • Place of birth:
    New York, United States
  • Date of passing: Feb 22, 2016
  • Place of passing:
    Los Angeles, California, United States

Monica, Arline, Nick and the whole of the Puz and Berndt families want to thank the many who have reached out to us during this time. Your love and friendship makes our pain a little easier to bear. 


LOS ANGELES -- Sunday, April 10th, at 2 PM at the Herrick Chapel of Occidental College, 1600 Campus Road, Eagle Rock, California 90041. Open to all.

NEW YORK -- Sunday, April 10th, 1 PM Eastern: friends will gather at the Rattle n Hum, 14 East 33rd. Street, NYC, NY. Open to any friends and family who want to celebrate Rich.


In lieu of flowers, donations to honor Rich's life will go towards a scholarship fund at Stony Brook university of Long Island, NY, to the benefit of a student in need at the School of Journalism. 

To donate:

1. Go to: 

2. Select: School of Journalism from the pull-down menu

3. Click the "TRIBUTE INFORMATION" link

4. Enter "Richard Puz" in the name field

Thank you! 

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Larry Chacon on 5th October 2016

"Happy Birthday Richard!
Let's hope Heaven knows a thing or two about birthday cakes and candles and ice cream. Found a good detective tv series from the 50's- Follow That Man, filmed in NY City. Nice. Get to prowl around the streets and take the ferry boat to Staten Island to meet a commie spy. Miss you, but never know might run into you as a passenger on the subway. Luv -L."

This tribute was added by Monica Berndt on 4th October 2016


This tribute was added by Chris Klerer on 17th April 2016

"It's been a week since his beautiful memorial service. I still can't believe he is gone. I think it will really hit me when the whole family is sitting around the dining room table and we start to "talk". The amazing thing about my brother is that everyone describes him the same way. He was real. He was honest. He was passionate. He was intelligent. I think of him everyday. I will miss his spirit, his love and his presence."

This tribute was added by Monica Berndt on 11th April 2016


(This letter was read at the memorial service for Richard by his 3 sisters, given that my electronic voice does not project well.)


Here we are, your three sisters and I, at this event that none of us anticipated when we entered 2016. I have come up the isle wearing your favorite shoes: fifteen dollars white leather sneakers. From COSTCO. Not just to add a note of levity to this moment, but because they are a metaphor for the footsteps you left behind – marks on this earth that we’d do well to follow:  

FIRSTLY, your ability to experience and express unrestrained mirth. And while I will not be able to laugh out loud with that deep, sincere, contagious laughter with which you lifted all our spirits, I will remember you when I look at things as utterly funny or joyous as you did.

SECONDLY, your deep kindness, that thoughtfulness and generosity which was as natural to you as breathing. It was reflected in many small and large every day gestures: from taking my car to the wash without saying a word and without expecting me to even notice, to standing by me and making me feel loved when life was harshest and beautiful when mauled by surgeries and interventions. And not just me:  you were (you are) a truly honest-to-goodness good guy who helped so many!

AND FINALLY your courage and your honesty. You enjoyed a passionate argument but the heat of a debate did never lead you to personal attacks or low blows. It rather sharpened even more your already sharp mind so that as you banged the table with your fist, sputtering, perfectly coherent arguments flew out your mouth with volume and conviction. It was never an attack on the person, always on the issues. You did not hold back your opinions, and we all love you for that.

These imprints –and many others-- have become more visible by your physical absence. So, bear with me if I’m sad for a moment, just as I’m grateful.


You were born in the Bronx, New York, and spent your early years in a safe suburban neighborhood, in a time of innocence when grownups did not go catatonic if you played outside until dark, or rode the trains with friends, or delivered papers.  

You were given the gift of an amazing mother, aunts that loved you, a tolerant grandmother and a grandfather that taught you to swear in Italian –and taught you as well what good giving and good helping was all about. Your father, John, gave you your first recorder and fed the sprout of the gizmo lover that you later became. And when your sisters came into the world you learned to be big brother and mom-helper, and you flexed the muscle of patience.

Your youth found you pondering “what is it all about? Who am I really and where are we all going?” but then LIFE got you and you were whisked into its carnival of upcoming attractions: of wars to protest, of funs to have and hills to conquer all rocked around by the exciting music of the 60’s. And you became a student, a reporter, an editor, a writer.

You fell in love, and out of it, and into it again. You married. And then your heart outside your heart was born when Nick came into the world in the late 70’s.

When you and I met, many years later, you were bouncing back from the break-up of your first family.

If anyone were to be tasked to pick two people out of a lineup and peg them as candidates for a happy future together, they would have never have selected us two:

- Me with my love for poetry – you thinking that that was, at best, flaky. If not pure hogwash
- Me focused on form – you insisting that it is all about function
- Me always at the brink or risks – you steady and strong and measured

And yet… and yet, we fit each other like pieces of a perfect cosmic puzzle. You made me cry less, I made you laugh more. You steadied my footing, I preened and primed your wings. And we became not just lovers, but each other’s best friends. Those 21 years since that September night when you walked up the stairs into one of my art salons and in my life have been the sweetest blessing: your arms have been my home.


So, what is it like so far, this life without you? Well…
• The tube of toothpaste lasts a lot longer
• I can sleep diagonally on the bed, if I want to
• And I no longer stock the fridge with things like Diet Pepsi and salami

But mostly, love, it is like being an amputee –for the time being.
And yet I know that I, too, am eternal and indestructible. Like you. And that I will be fine.

For just now, however, I hope you won’t chide me as being overly sentimental and whipping it all into “big drama”. You know I have already howled my silent scream at the February moon, when you were dying. I have since danced with your empty shirt by myself, in the empty house, to an Argentine tango. And I have let my tears streak my mascara down my face until I looked like a beaten up Marcel Marceau, before picking myself up by the scruff of the neck and sent myself packing.

So indulge me in one more moment of sadness until I again find my footing, knowing you are only out of sight, not out of being. I will be ok. More than ok. I promise.

You used to tell me that you lived a charmed life. I believe that life pays you back with the coin with which you invest in it. And you, dear love, endowed life with humor, with kindness and with courage. For all you gruff exterior and no-nonsense attitude, you lived honestly and generously – and are now rewarded with gratitude and friendship by the many you touched.

I shall always love you.

Your wife, Monica"

This tribute was added by Larry Chacon on 9th April 2016

"Three cheers for Richard!
Great neighbor, great friend, great BBQ chef, letting me hang out with him at book fairs, campaign for local and national politicos, cycle around town when the streets were closed to cars, being a counsel when I needed someone to listen. My favorite times are closer to home, in the backyard garden, helping as neighbors do, dig, rake, or plant. So to Richard, three cheers!"

This tribute was added by Toby Cantine on 7th April 2016

"Richard was such a deeply and sincerely good person.  He cared about people and situations in the world because that is how he was, rather than because he thought he ought to be that way because someone told him to.   He was intelligent, witty, fun loving, energetic and so very alive.  Monica, his wife, is a close friend, and I so appreciated the way he took such good care of her!  

I miss him!"

This tribute was added by Emilia Saint on 7th April 2016

"I miss Richard! He was one of the most authentic people I have ever met! Monica, Richard and I shared many fun times together...he had a gift of making people feel comfortable because he was sooo comfortable in his own skin. I loved his laughter and the way he never held anything inside: I never had to guess what he was thinking or feeling, which is rather refreshing in this world of political correctness!
I will be forever thankful to Richard for the way he enriched my life and for the way he loved and supported my dear friend Monica. I am so glad I met you!"

This tribute was added by Ed Krimmer on 6th April 2016

"I have sadly been out of touch with Richard since the mid-90's.  I remember though when I first showed up in S. California in '81 - I was the boyfriend of Susan's mentor's daughter. Yet he befriended both of us immediately. We enjoyed many evenings with the 3 of them catching a buzz (well Nick not so much) swimming, playing cards or watching HBO. I was saddened to hear of his passing but heartened to read he had led a meaningful life full of love these past years. Condolences to Nick & family, Susan & family as well as Moniki & family whom I did not know.  

Ed Krimmer"

This tribute was added by Jim Berndt on 5th April 2016

"Richard had a biiiig heart, and his idealism did not seem to match his age. I guess that fit well with his party affiliation. Although I tried a few times,  I was not match when his Italian temper boiled to the surface. I think that after his heart attack, he missed my offending words, but he knew I held back with the excuse of not giving him another heart attack. Richard was a very very kind man, thinking the world can be made a better place. He's very much missed."

This tribute was added by Mary Tokita on 5th April 2016

"Rich was such a sweet and funny man - he was always cool, classy and full of great ideas. His friendship was very much appreciated and will be missed."

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This memorial is administered by:

Monica Berndt


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