Saturday, August 14, 2010

RIP Rick Luehr

A friend from many years ago passed away this week. Rick Luehr was one of my co-workers on the University of Wisconsin at Parkside Ranger back in the 1980's. (He's the guy behind me in the photo above.) He was confined to a wheelchair for just about all his adult life, but never let that keep him down. He had a quick wit and will always be remembered for his wicked sense of humor.

I think it was in October of 1983 that then-Interior Secretary James Watt notoriously derided a commission on coal mining as being politically correct because it consisted of "a black, a woman, two Jews, and a cripple." Rick came to a campus Hallowe'en party that year as the coal commission: wearing blackface, a woman's wig, and two Stars of David on his shirt. That costume earned him a write-up in the Racine Journal Times. Another Hallowe'en, he draped a white sheet over himself with tiny plastic trees and sports figures, and came to the party as a local ski slope.

Not all his witticism was self-deprecating of course, but those are the two incidents kept fresh in my memory because there are photographs. Most of his bons mots are lost in the deep recesses of my mind.

His friends on Facebook have been recalling his acts of kindness and support as well as his humor. I can't possibly eulogize Rick better than this blog entry by another Ranger alumnus, Tony Rogers.

Rest in peace, Rick. You have been an inspiration to everyone you met.

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