Monday, June 29, 2015

Remembering Rich Cady

Our friend Rich Cady passed away recently after a long illness. I couldn't make it over to St. Augustine for the memorial service due to my Marine Science camp obligations, so I just wanted to share a few memories here on PF.

Rich was my brother Terry's buddy first. I think they met at the sightseeing trailer trains.
I met Rich through Terry, after they became fast friends and roomies.

They rented a tiny wood frame house on Grant Street, which always seemed to have interesting people passing through or just crashing for a while.
It was quite fascinating to me.

I just know, as the younger brother, I never quite knew what to expect when I opened the front door to the Grant Street house.

With this exception...I knew I could always expect to see Rich Cady with a grin on his face as he welcomed me.
Rich had an easy, genuine laugh that just drew you in.
That never changed through all the years I knew him.

I got to know Rich well by working for him.
In those early 80's days, we were all trying to find ourselves, and Rich and Terry started their own business, a house painting enterprise.

I was chasing a permanent position with the National Park Service, by working a series of seasonal Ranger positions.
Those temporary positions left me unemployed after the summer season and Rich and Terry hired me as the painter gopher guy.

Rich (and Terry) were perfectionists when it came to their painting, and I learned so much in the time I spent as their employee. I think about those days everytime I remodel or repaint a room here at PFHQ.

I know they were doing me a favor by hiring me, and Rich could have justifiably nixed the idea of taking on his partner's younger brother, but he didn't, and I will always be grateful for that ... and not just because I learned to paint well.

Had I been in almost any other place except at Grant Street, early on an October morning, waiting to start another day of painting, I would have missed a once in a lifetime event.

When our fellow employee , Fred Kaplan, arrived that day, he told us he had seen a bunch of whales stuck in the bay as he drove over the Vilano beach bridge.

Rich didn't hesitate for a moment.
Work was cancelled, dogs were loaded, the boat was trailered, and in a few minutes we were launching at the Vilano ramp.

Only the Marine Patrol and the local PBS TV fishing show host were on the scene before us.

That's a whole 'nother tale, one I have told here on PF before, I only mention it to share Rich's adventurous spirit and because the one photo I have of Rich, is the one below.

I took it at the end of a heartbreaking morning of trying, and failing to rescue a pod of sperm whales who had stranded inside Matanzas Bay.

In the photo, the whales have passed. Nothing more can be done and we are regrouping and preparing to head home.
It was a sad day as I said, but this photo always makes me smile ... I mean who takes 3 dogs to a whale stranding?
Rich Cady, that's who.

From left to right:
Red shirt: Fred Kaplan
Plaid shirt: Terry Powers
Brown shirt: Rich Cady

Eventually, we all DID find ourselves. Rich married his sweetheart, the very talented floral design artist, Becca.
Together, they raised a fine family and created a successful business, Flower Works ... which is still the best florist shop in St. Augustine.

The last time I saw Rich was a few years ago at Mom's.
He had stopped by with a flower arrangement for Mom ... just because.

The doorbell rang, I opened the door, and there he was, an armful of flowers, and that easy smile.

That is the image that will stay with me each time I think of Rich Cady, a happy man enjoying this precious life.


Marilyn Kircus said...

While I'm sure you are very sad at the passing of your friend, you have also made us that he spent his life wisely and in the moment. And that he love others, even other species. You have done the world a great service in sharing his life with us.

robin andrea said...

My deepest sympathies to all who loved this lovely man. You paint a loving portrait and remembrance.

Julie Zickefoose said...

I didn't know him, and I'm wiping tears for him. If it weren't you writing, I'd wonder about a pod of sperm whales in a Florida bay. That photo took my breath away. Just shaking my head at this big ol' wonderful world and all the incredible people that pass through it like comets blazing. Fare thee well, Rich Cady. I hope your dogs were waiting for you.