- 73 years old
- Date of birth: May 16, 1941
- Place of birth:
Springfield, Massachusetts, United States
- Date of passing: Jan 26, 2015
- Place of passing:
Fairfax, Virginia, United States
|Those we hold closest to our hearts never truly leave us. They live on in the kindness they have shared and the love they brought into our lives.|
"You are missed, my friend. It's your birthday week! We would have been having the best political discussions EVER at this time and, between Dave and me, we would have double teamed you at many lunches but I guarantee that we wouldn't have been able to sway your opinion this time around with the Presidential choices that we have. I drive by your house on Floyd every Sunday and seeing it there without you puts life in perspective. Your niece was wonderful to put this site together so we could 'talk to you' and I know why you often spoke of Ashley and Chris. Kristen and Matt are doing well and they continue to impress me. Danny asked me to say 'hi' from him when I drive by your house Sunday but I'll just tell you now that he is thinking of you too. Talk at you soon. Scott"
"Richard and I grew up in the Pine Point section of Springfield Mass. I first met him in our Sunday school class at Union Congregational Church. At that time I thought he looked more like a Louie than a Richard. We attended different elementary schools but both attended Buckingham Junior High School where we became members of Demolay. We also attended Springfield Tech. high school and sat at the same cafeteria table for three years. After graduation, I often went to Howard Johnson's, where Richard worked, for lunch. After I enlisted in the air force, we lost touch for fifty years. When I attended our 50th high school class reunion in 2009, I received a directory of former classmates, and Richard's address and phone number were in it. I called him with the pretext that I was the C.E.O of Howard Johnson's and offered him a job based on his outstanding record from 1959, he replied by saying he felt honored to be asked after 50 years. I finally told him who I really was and he couldn't believe it. That was the beginning of many hours of chatting on the phone for the following 5 and a half years. I sure miss those chats. I will always cherish our renewed friendship.
"In addition to our many discussions about politics we always enjoyed talking about movies and quoting memorable lines from classics. Dickie had a really love for cinema. I had a hard time stumping him whenever we would quiz each other."
"My first memory in life is pulling up to Dick’s house in 1980 to move in when I was 3 years old. It wasn’t long until Dick and I became good buddies and he was threating to put me in the sleeper hold if I didn’t behave, which I thought was both funny and scary!
Even after we no longer lived at Dick’s house he took at great interest in me while I was growing up and would enroll me in sports, take me to hockey games, and would pick me up at least once a week to see a movie and go out to eat afterwards to discuss the movie, which I loved doing. We continued that tradition until I was at least in my 20’s, maybe later.
As my Mom said when I was young I would call Dick and my Uncle Rick my best friends. When I was 22 I was having health issues and going through a very difficult time. On my birthday that year I was listening to Dick’s public radio station and he said: “I want to say happy birthday to my best friend Matt Donahue” we hadn’t called each other that in years and I was so touched that I broke down crying, I still get choked up every time I think about it.
The night before he passed away I went to see him in the hospital. I thought he might be upset at his situation but he was very calm and told me everything is perfect, and named the reasons why he thought so, not one of them had to do with himself. That is exactly the way he lived his life, more concerned about other people and animals then his own wellbeing.
Even though Dick was not a blood relative I always thought of him as family and referred to him as my uncle, but really he was closer than an uncle and was always there for me and my family until the day he passed. He was a wonderful friend, role model, and uncle to me and I’m going to miss him greatly!"
"Dick has known me since before I was born. When I was little, he used to bring me to the movies in Massachusetts. He helped inspire my obsession for Winnie The Pooh and Disney movies. After the movies, he took me to McDonalds, and we ate lunch in his big yellow truck. When we got home, the first thing I told my mom was that Uncle Dick ate all my french fries. We always joked about that and laughed about it on our last visit together.
We lived with Dick when we first moved to Virginia. He was so kind to take in my family of four. Every time I thanked him for it, in his kind and humble way, he always replied "it's the best thing I ever did." Dick was also very wise, while we were living with him, our neighbor was selling an ATARI video game at a yard sale. He told me he'd buy it for me IF I signed a contract. One of the most important clauses was that I start sleeping in until at least 7:00am. You know he was always a night owl! But he was so patient and never spoke a harsh word to my brother or I while we shared the small house together.
I felt very fortunate that in my twenties, I worked part time for Dick at Budget Self Storage. It was a wonderful time, we reconnected and enjoyed long conversations and laughs while arguing with U-Haul customers, haggling with storage customers and defrosting frozen pipes with an iron. Somewhere along the way, he put me in charge of handling delinquent accounts. Dick had a soft heart and would always help someone in need.. he never had the heart to collect money from someone who was down on their luck.
He is truly missed and I would not be who I am today if it weren't for my Uncle Dick."
"Dick was a man of intellect, integrity, honor, humility, loyalty, passion and most of all humor. Having been his friend for over 40 years, I find it difficult to adequately express what he meant to me. This phrase best sums it up; a Godsend. God smiled upon me the day we met.
There is an old adage that states you can pick your friends, but not your family. I strongly disagree. My wife, Judy, and I adopted Dick to be part of our family. He was as integral a member, as if he were flesh and blood. As most of you probably know, Dick's favorite meal was spaghetti. On holidays, to ensure he felt special and loved, Judy would serve a traditional holiday meal for the majority of our guests, and spaghetti for Dick.
His compassion towards others knew no bounds. While visiting a neighborhood convenience store frequently, he noticed a hard-working, and motivated young man. Dick felt this man deserved so much more. In typical fashion, he befriended this man and took him under his wing. With Dick's retirement on the horizon, he groomed this young man to be his successor at the storage facility he managed.
You would have to search far and wide to find another friend like Dick. Judy and I were looking forward to his upcoming visit this summer. He will be truly missed."
"Dick was my friend for 42 years. He was articulate, extremely intelligent, out-going, yet shy. He was opinionated, passionate, and well-read. He enjoyed discussing movies, politics, and sports. Dick was the master of verbal-sparring. His generosity knew no limits. He had a way of making each of us feel special, like his 'best friend.' When my son was a child, his two male role models were Dick and my brother, Ricky. Each would teasingly ask him who his best friend really was and he would assure each of them that they were. When asked how this was possible, my son (being a clever little boy) would exclaim that he loved both of them, but in different ways. I believe this is how Dick felt about each of us. I love and miss you, Dick, MY 'best friend.'"
"Dickie, as some of us were fond of calling him, was an important person in my life. I can't speak for the other guys that first met Dickie from our Springfield Mall / General Cinema days but I suspect they feel the same.
I first met Dickie when he took over managing the theatre's. As a recent college dropout I was in desperate need of a job (at least according to my parents). Dickie took a chance on me...on all of us guys really when he hired us. We were a bunch of goofy teenagers primarily interested in having a good time. I'll never forget those times working at the Mall. Dickie managed to keep us in check...somewhat...but what I remember most is laughing so hard my stomach actually hurt. I don't think I ever laughed as hard again as those late nights in the office as we counted gobs of cash from movies like Jaws. I have no recollection of what we were laughing about but I remember crying from laughter.
Playing pinball at Timeout, shooting pool at some unsavory places in Arlington in the wee hours of the morning, bowling at the old Springfield Bowling alley and making late night road trips to Marios pizza...it can all be summed up with two words immortalized by Danny Brook's mother...good times.
In addition to being our boss Dickie was a great friend and somewhat of a surrogate father, providing occasional guidance when necessary to keep some of us from screwing things up too badly. I know my parents were very grateful that Dickie was around to keep us in check.
As the years passed we would still get together, usually for lunch with Scotty P. and Danny B. It was like old times. The only difference is we now had one new thing in common - we loved to debate politics, and Dickie and I were polar opposites. He and I would go at it pretty hard sometimes. I think we scared a few people in Springfield Restaurant with our heated debates. I'll never understand how someone like Dickie could be so wrong on so many issues :-). Despite our political differences it never affected our friendship.
Regretfully I won't be able to attend the get-together on the 28th. Thanks for letting me share here."
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