I was pleased the NoVES newsletter acknowledged the passing of one of the Society's original members, Richard (Dick) Risk. I would like to add my appreciation.
Dick was an erudite gentleman who retained a charming Midwest politeness. When Dick presided over a Society Platform meeting, I appreciated his sonorous, refined voice accompanied by a wide and welcoming smile. I felt secure in his presence.
“Marv, I’m delighted to see you,” was how he typically greeted me. I suspect others were similarly addressed because Dick liked people.
On the other hand, Dick had a no-nonsense streak. I recall a time I was addressing members at Platform by asking us to consider completing our pledges. After suggesting that we only had a brief time to conclude the campaign, the budget, the need to know our numbers . . . Dick stood from the audience.
“Just fill out the damned pledge on any old piece of paper. Marv is way too circumspect, but we are all volunteers here. Let’s make our lives a bit easier.”
I did not say another word that day.
When I last visited Dick at a nursing home, he was confined to bed. Yet, he wanted to talk about poetry and musicals. He insisted on singing bits from shows he enjoyed. He recalled his early years in Illinois and Missouri. “I was so naïve in those days,” he admonished himself. But he said that one of the best things he did was to join the Ethical Society, first in St. Louis and then here in Virginia. He told me the Society opened him to ideas that challenged his parochial beliefs. So, what NoVES does is important . . . at least to a lovely man whose memory I value.