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December 31, 2006

One of the things the media always does at the end of a year is to remind us of the people — celebrities of one sort or another, usually — who passed away during the year.

This year is no different, really. Gerald Ford, Steve Irwin, Don Knotts, Milton Friedman, Glenn Ford, Shelley Winters, Kenneth Lay, Coretta Scott King, Red Auerbach, James Brown. And plenty more.

Here's a name you won't know: Dick Williams.

Dick was a charter member of the "greatest generation." Having flown with a squadron of B-29s in the Pacific theater in World War 2, he reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. When he bought a new car in the mid 1990s, a Mitsubishi, he joked that fifty years earlier he'd been dropping bombs on the factory that had made it.

After the war, he went into the insurance business in Santa Barbara, CA, and was an active member of the community. There, probably over a rubber of bridge at the University Club, he met my Dad, and they became very close friends. Despite an age difference of 45 years, he was my friend, too.

Dick passed away a couple of weeks ago, aged 89. He was not famous, he wasn't a big name. What he was, was a decent and kind man who did his part to make the world and his community better.

He was a good man. I'll miss him.

Posted by Russ at 08:05 PM, December 31, 2006 in Personal Stuff

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Yep. Dick was the man. He and Dad were a wicked combo on the bridge table. I'll never forget the time he visited for new years, brought a good bottle of kentucky whiskey, poured himself and you, Russ, a glass. Dick settled into a chair, took a little pull, looked over at you, slightly awestruck, and said, "Russ, that was SIPPING whiskey!"

Posted by: Brad at January 5, 2007 07:47 PM

Ha! I tried to work that story into the post, but it didn't seem to fit. Thanks for mentioning it, bro.

Posted by: Russ at January 5, 2007 08:12 PM