My Friend Rich Lee


My friend Rich was a giant of a man.  He was very big and very strong.  One day I watched in amazement, as he pushed a huge file cabinet loaded with documentation and topped with 4 full archive boxes, about 10 feet. 


He was doing this to be playful, because it partially blocked the pathway to one of our cubes.  I remember the look on everyone’s face as they wondered, “How the heck did that get there?”  I believe it took about 5 men to push it back to its place.


My friend Rich was a great athlete.  He was the best player on our pretty awful volleyball team.  Although we continued to loose just about every game, Rich never gave up on us and continued to try to teach us the finer points of volleyball.  We eventually did win a few games that season.


You see my friend Rich was a natural born leader.  We would do anything he asked of us.  We would follow him anywhere.  He earned that type respect and commitment from any one that worked for him.  If you worked for Rich you know exactly what I mean.


My friend Rich always had a good answer.  He understood business.  He understood hardware and he certainly understood software.   If we were stuck on something, we would always say “let’s ask Rich, he’ll know”.  And he always did.  This also went for silly trivial stuff, like who played guitar for the James Brown band in the 60’s?  Or the names of creators of the cartoon Southpark.  Or which one is Wallace and which one is Gromit.  The only time Rich let us down, was when he could not tell us the name of the children’s party favor that uncurls as you blow air into it. You know the one.  In retrospect, I don’t think they actually have a name, otherwise Rich would have known.


My friend Rich was a lot of fun at very serious business meetings.  He made sure that we always had plenty of doughnuts on hand.  He knew that some of the business line people showed up for the Krispy Kreme’s.  It was easy to get Rich going with a quick reference to any Monty Python movie.  We always took the time to explain the joke to our colleagues who were new to this country and may not have gotten it.  Rich liked to have fun. 


My friend Rich was extremely generous.  He kept a fully stocked refrigerator on hand.  He took requests and would get any thing we asked for (non-alcoholic of course).  He bought us a couch so we could be comfortable during meetings.  He made a group project of picking the style and color.  He bought us all inflatable chairs with our favorite NFL team logos. It was fun.  Everybody wanted to work for Rich.   


My Friend Rich Lee


My friend Rich was also unbelievably generous with his time.  He would go to any length to teach us something new.  More so than any teacher we’ve ever had.  When we needed the text for our customer confirms re-typed ASAP, for one of our projects, he did it himself because he was the fastest typist in the company.  This was Rich.  We were always amazed. 


My friend Rich was a very humble man.  His self-deprecating style of humor made us chuckle.  Obviously, not because we agreed with it.  Although we were always in awe of Rich and his numerous talents, he never made us feel bad about ourselves.  It was just the opposite.  He always made us feel good about ourselves.


My friend Rich was a compassionate man.  When our families and loved-ones were in pain or sick, he would tell us to stop what we were doing and go take care of them and not to come back until everything was all right.  He would say your family is much more important than work.  Of course this meant Rich had to add more to his own already huge work load.  But that was my friend Rich.


My friend Rich was a dedicated family man.  He adored his wife Karen and was never too embarrassed to tell her “I love you” on the phone, in front of the guys.  If you know Karen and Rich, you know it is impossible for two people to be closer and more in love with each other, as they are.  He was the perfect husband.               


Most of all, my friend Rich is a great daddy.  He was constantly printing and posting pictures by the hundreds of Zach all over his office walls.  There were not enough hours in the day to count them.  Not those small pictures you get from the drug store, but huge 8x10 pictures everywhere.  He also made digital videos of Zach (everything was digital with Rich, including Karen’s sonogram). 


I will never forget the sight of Rich riding around on Zach’s tiny little bicycle in their living room, in one of those vidieos.  I also will never forget the sound of Zach’s voice calling for “Daddy” every time Rich received an email at work.  I will always remember the sadness in Rich’s voice when he told me over the phone, that Zach had missed him and was asking for him when he was in London on a business trip a few weeks ago.     


I was lucky to have a friend like Rich Lee.  Not everyone is so lucky.  I am twice blessed though, because I am also a friend of Karen Lee. 


I love them both and I will pray for them always.         


-Dan Windram