11/18/61-10/22/98


My Best Friend
(spoken 10/25/98 by Richard's friend, Robert)

I met Richard around 20 years ago, he was going to college in Oneonta at the time. My brother happened to have owned a bar in Oneonta, which happened to have been Richard's second home.

I was going to school in Cortland and Richard was on the Oneonta Tennis team, which came to Cortland one Friday and I went back with the team to Oneonta for the weekend and spend most subsequent weekends in Oneonta with Rich.

I am wearing this Jerry Garcia tie today in honor of the 30 or so Grateful Dead shows Richard and I saw together in the early '80s. I know Richard has already met Jerry and has asked him why he had to play Black Peter so many times at those shows.

When Rich moved to Europe in the late '80's, whenever he came to town I would go to dinner with he and his parents. We would do nothing but laugh through the entire dinner. Sometimes Rich would laugh so hard, nothing would come out.

When I went to visit him in Geneva in the Fall of '92, Richard was pregnant with Coco (?). Um, Coca was pregnant with Talia. We went out to dinner one night and after dinner, we laughed so hard, we were rolling on top of cars in the street.

When he got sick in 1996, I was out visiting with David and Kenny. We were outside having a conversation and Caryl walked out and asked us if we needed anything. I responded "No Mrs. Karpf, we're fine." Her response was "Robbie, after all these years years, you can call me Caryl!". The next day when I called to speak to Richard, Caryl answered the call. I said to her "Hi Caryl, may I speak to Richard?", to which she responded "Who is this?".

Last winter, around Christmas, I went to visit Richard at his parents house. The movie Arthur was on when I arrived, and I proceeded to say each line in the movie before the character actually did, since I knew the movie so well. His parents looked me as if I was from Mars, and Richard just sat there, laughing hysterically because he knew my act so well.

In his last days, I would go and visit him and when he would wake up I would try and tell him a quick story. This happened the Saturday before he passed away. He was not doing well, and afterwards my friend Jim told me the story I had told him had made him laugh. My reply was simple. "That's what our relationship was all about - making each other laugh".

To add, I would like to add that Jim has the biggest heart of any human being being I had ever met.

This has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my entire life. To say goodbye to my best friend Richard. He was my best friend, I loved him and I will miss him very much.
 

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