To say you’re a “Free Spirit” – Is an understatement indeed
You hear music unlike others – Richie, you’re a rare, rare breed
You lost your father as a toddler – Your grandparents helped a lot
Then you lost your mother at “16” – Which really left you in a spot!!
With a court appointed guardian – Your love of music had to wait
She insisted you study accounting – Which you really didn’t want on your plate
Luckily while visiting an Uncle – You met Ralph Thommsen one day
He heard you playing the organ at church – About which he had much to say!!
He became your “benefactor” – As well as a very good friend
The College Conservatory of Cincinnati – You finally got to attend
On a 4 year scholarship, no less – Where you achieved quite a lot
Winning the Bertha Baur Award – Richard, you were hot!!
You won first place in 1962 – And second place in 1965
You heard music at church with Grandma – It truly helped you thrive
You spent 15 years at Trinity Episcopal – Where in 1975 you met your “lovely bride”
Richard, she insisted I say this – That’s just my little aside!!
You had an instant family – With Simone 4 years old and Brendon, 2
Then in 1981 you moved toWashingtonD.C. – In 82 came the entire crew
St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church – Where a misunderstanding took place
They wanted you to teach instrumental music – Something you didn’t embrace!!
You’ve taught scores of students – And given recitals on your own
In Buffalo, Pittsburgh and New York – Truly a gift from heaven you have shown
Your sister Juanita lives in Lexington – You sent her birthday flowers each year
Always the caring person – Which is why we all hold you so dear!!
You’ve held various church positions – In and about Washington D. C.
For the past several years – With your spirit still quite free
You’ve been at St. Mary Magdalene’s – Choirmaster of the Chancel Choir
You started a children’s instrumental group – You, they love and admire!!
Yes, your bride sings in the choir – As she should, don’t you think
Her mother spent a lot of money – For her voice lessons, wink, wink
And now the family has expanded – With Simone’s new groom, Jim
Oh yes, there’s also Michael – We certainly can’t forget him!!
And then we have Cameron – Whom you refer to as the “Apple of your eye”
Being your first grandchild – It was instant love between you and your guy
Thanks to Eric’s thoughtlessness – You had Cameron to help raise and to love
Although it wasn’t always easy – In retrospect, it was a gift from above!!
You’re also Sam and Sydney’s, Papa – Who have both won your heart
Richie, this is just an observation – But, you’ve come a long way from the start
You continue to battle diabetes – And your thumb has a score of pricks
Where you’ve tested your blood sugar – By now you know every trick!
You still ride your trusty bike – More miles than some drive a car
Your legs are like pistons – But Richard, that’s who you are
You and Joan love the Jersey shore –Point Pleasant now for 25 years
It’s where you both recharge and rest – You’ve made that very clear!!
The Colonel innkeepers – Are more like family after all
This will be your second Thanksgiving – You’ll spend with them this fall
With Brendon and Lori in Kentucky – You don’t see them as much as you’d like
With Cameron living in Maryland – When lonesome, you go ride your bike!!
Joan gave me this passage – You wrote it long ago on a resume
I think it says quite clearly – Exactly what I’ve been trying to say
“Music has been a
dominant force in my life. I am the music conductor. I am a communicator, an originator,
an interpreter, a performer, a person of spiritual integrity.”
So Richard, each of us wish you – Much happiness on your special day
We all love and admire you – So what more is there left to say!!
Marcia, Erwin, Sheron,
Neal, Cheryl & Ed
And of course Tamara