I realize many of you knew Rich as a child, or a teenager or maybe just feel connected to him because he shared the experience of living and growing up in Hawaii. I want to tell you something of the man he came to be, of the person that I love with all my heart.
I met Rich at Yale in 1989. Rich was easy to fall in love with – intelligent, funny, talented, handsome, kind, generous and so very loving. It’s hard to describe the essence of a person with words. He was the sort of person you instantly feel comfortable with and enjoy being around. It was more than a great personality and sense of humor – it was an inexhaustible energy, a sense of wonder and enthusiasm for life that most of us outgrow after childhood. After dating only a few weeks, he asked if I would marry him and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that he was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
But that was only the beginning…
With each passing year, Rich’s abilities seemed to grow exponentially, as did my love for him. He was a truly remarkable person who had the rare ability to change people’s lives for the better. I am so very proud of his achievements, humility and boundless compassion.
As well as I knew him, he never ceased to amaze me with his ever-growing talents. He taught himself computers, software and business, working his way up through companies such as Salomon Smith Barney, Natwest, Bankers Trust and finally to CIO of Equities Technology at Cantor Fitzgerald, earning a reputation as a hard worker, great manager, problem solver. He was legendary for the hours he put in, for the results he got (always knowing the answer, what to do…). He was glad to give credit to others and stay behind the scenes, he just wanted the job done and was humble in spite of his achievements. Most striking of all was the concern he showed to every one he worked with from peers, to secretaries. He often said he wanted to be a teacher so that he could change people’s lives – as you can see from some of the testimonies I’ve received and posted, he did that and so much more. He inspired everyone he met with his example and his kindness. In an environment where most people only look out for themselves, he truly cared about everyone – I could see when he came home how happy he was when he was able to help someone, how sad he was if he couldn’t (he actually spent Monday night before the tragedy trying to get jobs for people who had been laid off that day)
I remember telling friends about how much he accomplished and how much he cared. A few of them were lucky enough to get to know him themselves. They told me they used to think I was exaggerating, that no one could be that wonderful, but after seeing for themselves, they realized my description didn’t do him justice. He inspired admiration, awe, loyalty, friendship and love in all who knew him.
Now, you’d think that being so busy with work he’d have little time for anything else, but he saw to the opposite. He’d sleep only 4hrs a night and start work at 3am just so that he could spend more time with me (and later our son) in the evenings. He often didn’t have time to eat lunch, yet he’d call me throughout the day, in between meetings, just to check in and tell me he loved me. He’d send electronic greeting cards to us from work every morning – Zach still asks me to play them to him. I’d e-mail pictures of Zach throughout the day so he wouldn’t miss out – he’d respond to each with love and humor and covered the wall of his office with the pictures. After moving to a beautiful house in the suburbs just a few months ago where we hoped to grow our family, he delighted in building toy boxes and shelves for our son’s playroom. Just last week I found plans he’d sketched out for a clubhouse he wanted to build which he even labeled with a street address # 3 1/3. He rejoiced in giving to others, he was the most generous man I ever knew.
After 9 yrs of marriage and the demands of raising an energetic toddler, he still continued to send me flowers for no reason, hid cards or notes around the house for me to find (many of them he penned as if they were from our little boy), and loved me more than anyone could hope to be loved. He was the most perfect, most loving, devoted, attentive husband and father anyone could ever imagine. He was the most wonderful human being I ever met. He was my life.
They say life goes on…I know I must for the sake of our darling little boy…but it a very different life for me. Even the joy that our son so easily inspired in me is shrouded in sadness as I think of how Rich is missing everything he does, how he will never see him grow, how Zach will never have the benefit of Rich's amazing presence- and not even know what he's missed, how he will never have brothers or sisters to lean on in this world.
They say time heals all wounds… but time cannot fill the loss of a love so deep, time cannot replace a father for our little boy. When that plane tore through the WTC on September 11th, it tore through my heart and all my dreams of happiness collapsed with Richard in that tower forever.