Tay Sandozís speech for Richís NY Memorial Service:
I† have no words to offer that can change the depth of sadness or persistent aching
feeling which has been with me since first hearing about Rich's loss.† All I can share
is my experience, and the ways Rich has been an integral part of that experience
throughout my life, practically from the time I first became aware of my own
existence in the world. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't Rich's best friend. It would just seem that way because of the supreme importance Rich seemed to place on all his interactions with other people. He was always deeply interested in how people
thought and what they were doing, even if he disagreed completely with them.
One of my first memories involving Rich was in Mrs. Helbling's second grade class one day after recess during which one of our
classmates had teased him about the heavy boots he was wearing. This hadn't seemed
like a good idea to me, given Rich's already formidable stature, but instead of a
reactive assault, I was surprised to see
tears welling in Rich's eyes as he tried to explain to his confused taunters how what they were saying could hurt someone's feelings.
That was the thing about Rich. He should have been a very intimidating man. As we grew up through school, it became
increasingly obvious that he possessed
uncommon intellectual, musical, and athletic gifts, towering even over many other great minds and talents who attended the elite prep school we were fortunate enough to .
At times he worked hard to play the role. I'll never forget the sight of Rich
viciously attacking hedges and trash bins in a frenzy of adrenaline before big football
games. But mostly, he craftily arranged to remain unobtrusive, quiet, smiling in the background as he let others, often helped others, come forward and shine in the
limelight. He was the bass guitarist, not the lead singer in each of the infamous
music groups he formed, composed for, and
nurtured. He was a linemen and a fullback, exerting great force behind the scenes to
allow spectacular showmanship by others on the football and soccer field. He
independantly created our senior Variety Show, a masterpiece script of ridiculous operatic folly, mixed with genuinely inspiring ideas,
and covertly infused throughout with inside humor and double entendre aimed at his inner circle of friends. It was a project which ultimately brought our entire class together in a profound, cooperative way, birthed hidden talents in many of us, and inspired some to career pathes in the theater -Yet, Rich insisted on remaining anonymous as a contributor.
In the foolish days of high school, I think many of us struggled to
understand really what we were doing.† In retrospect, I think Rich was very
intentional in his vast generosity, his deep loyalty, and his giddy pleasure in helping those who often didn't even know they were being helped. I think this was the way he took care of people. It's the way I watched him take care of his Dad. The way he took care of his brothers. The way he took care of his family. It was the way he took care of me. He helped assuage my social insecurities, promoted my love for music,
and provided friendship I knew I could rely on, just by being there and usually being there with way too much beer.
Rich was always a perfectionist. He often seemed frustrated by his genius in his desire to do things exceptionally well. I remember listening in disbelief when he once confided he had written an entire symphony, but had rashly thrown it into the fireplace when he couldn't get the final segment to come out right. Or the night Rich was inspired to use his connections at a Waikiki hotel to mastermind a city-wide party where his band would play. He was so excited about the prospect of hosting a truly monumental function and then making a large profit on top of it. The night was a total success, but Rich could only feel numb disbellef that he had cleared just a couple hundred dollars from the event, hurling the money at the rest of us in frustration.
He was also quietly determined. He seemed
to maintain a grounded commitment to what he wanted and what he cared about in life. I remember admiring the certainty he felt when he first told me about his plans to marry Karen. I didn't really believe him when he casually announced one day that he was
moving to New York to become a major player on Wall St. Then there was the sense of
peace that seemed to come over him about being a father to Zachary. Rich seemed to me in many ways at his most self-fulfilled in these last several months.