This weekend, a family friend for well over 20 years, Dr. Richard Weltman, died. Shortly after our wedding last July, Rick was diagnosed with a paricularly aggressive kidney cancer and it eventually weakened him too much. He passed away on Friday, 7/27/07 from problems associated with high dose chemotherapy. Although I was distanced from the Weltmans for several years due mainly to geography, I never really lost the special connection I always had with them from my childhood. I was reunited with them when my father had a medical episode last year, and we immediately caught up.
Rick, a gifted hobbiest photographer, took fantastic pictures at our wedding – pictures of people – that served as the perfect complement to our photographers’ photos. Our wedding memories are only complete with the photos from both of them.
Rick was also a talented doctor, and he lovingly and gently treated my grandather up to the weeks before he died. If only for this, I would be forever grateful. His knowledgeable but honest approach led me to have complete confidence in him.
The fact is, Rick was not a part of my everyday life and I knew he was sick, and that is why it is so surprising that I find myself so dismayed by this news. Rick was a great all around guy – a caring person, a good friend, a sympathic ear, serious when it was called for and humorous at all other times. Rick had a contagious smile and big bushy signature eyebrows that couldn’t be missed, and I truly believe that all who knew him liked him.
It says something special about a man’s life when, even if they only realize it after he dies, people recognize the way he touched their lives. The people who assemble to celebrate Rick’s life will do so knowing that they are better for having known him. There will be a hole in the lives of everyone that knew this kind man who was taken from us far too soon.