Don Valentine <riverman_vt@...>
It has been twenty-four hours since Tony's note on Richard's passing was read the first thing yesterday morning and I am still in a state of shock. Thank you for letting us all know, Tony, even if it was not good news. For me Richard's
passing is just one too many over the last year but such is life.
I believe it was Gordon Cannon and Ron Perez who introduced me to Richard briefly when he was passing through the hotel lobby during the NMRA National in Eugene, OR in 1987. We had but a few minutes to chat but they were
not to be forgotten. In the early 1990's a friend and consummate "kitbasher" had a couple of questions we could not resolve in our frequent telephone conversations. Thus I suggested he contact Richard. The fellow being a "lone wolf" modeler and without a computer asked how he could do that. I found Richard's telephone number for him and within a half hour he telephoned me back and could not thank me enough for putting him in direct contact with Richard. This friend had a stroke while I was in Russia in early 2000 but bounced back very quickly from it. Unfortunately he had a second one the second time I was in Russia that year from which he has never recovered well. He is still with us but has never addressed anyone by name since, though he seems to recognize people, and is obviously far from participating in the hobby that unites us all.
It was in Napierville that fall, IIRC, that Richard and I finally had an opportunity to really converse, other than on the telpehone on occasion. During that meeting he asked what had happened to our mutual friend whom he, too, enjoyed telephone chats with from time to time after their first such converation. When told what had happened Richard seemed as saddened as we all are with the news of his passing. Everyone has noted what a great historian and modeler he was and how helpful he was to everyone in the hobby whom he ever seems to have met. But I think something may have been overlooked in this. To me it was not just the way Richard was with those of us who share in the hobby. It was the way he approached life, which I suspect was very much the same with anyone he met. He was the epitome of Will Rogers in that I doubt he ever met a person he didn't like even if he did not suffer fools easily. The world in recent years needs a lot more people with
a soul like Richard's. It is certainly a poorer place from his loss.
My deepest sympathy to Sandra, his family and close friends, Don Valentine