Monday, January 4, 2016
How Difficult To Write On The Passing Of One I Have Known!
David Lee Riley, the gentleman pictured on the far left, and I met in Spring or Summer of 1986. He was a librarian ant NYU, with a specialty in music, and I was evolving into the social media doyenne I would eventually become--though I did not know it then.
David was witty, urbane, and erudite, which made us a cinch to be good friends. He was one of the few folks I will admit to being better read than I was.
So, it was with great sadness that I discovered, just yesterday, David had passed away, on November 13, 2015.
Where to begin. From age 50 on, David was plagued with health problems. He was tall, but full figured, and try as he did, just could not shake that. For the next several years, this unfortunate fellow went through medical hell--numerous surgeries, and several last years of his life spent on kidney dialysis. I know, from our phone conversations, it wore him down, emotionally and physically.
This past October, I had a text from him. He was going into the hospital, for an angioplasty, and was feeling weak. That turned out to be the last time I heard from him. At that point, November, with my birthday, Thanksgiving, and right into the Christmas/New Year Season, caused me to get caught up in the melee, till one day, my beloved, also a David, happened to point out I had not heard from David Riley in a long time.
On two different days, I called his number. Each time I got a busy signal. I thought it strange, and my suspicions were aroused.
Online, we found the information about David's passing. I emailed a coworker of his he had mentioned and she filled me in.
The angioplasty did not take. His blood pressure kept dropping. They tried another procedure, more arterial, and central to the heart. They discovered the heart was beyond repair, and there was nothing that could be done.
David transferred to a hospice, which is where he passed away.
That is what happened. So sad. And so young; just four months short of his 60th birthday.
But I want to remember the witty, intelligent, fun David. Whose visits to me in New York I always enjoyed. Until it closed down, Rumplemayer's was always one of our key hangouts. David always had the Coupe aux Marons, and I had the Peach Melba.
When it came to celeb obits, David was often one up on me. Often, I would get a call from him, when someone of our cultural association passed on. Joan Fontaine's death was big news among us.
So, I find it odd that I am here, writing an obit of David.
He was dedicated to his job and the students. Especially those he enacted with during his time of coaching Scholastic Bowl, which was his passion. One that stayed with him.
I don't mean to liken David to Bette Midler's character in "The Rose." He was as far from that as I. But that film's tag line about someone who gave till there was nothing left to give says much about David, and his contributions here on Earth.
How I wish I could ask him some question or other, or hear his witty remarks, in that distinctive voice I will always remember.
Alas, now that must wait till another time.
Rest In Peace, David. Saturdays, without "The Golden Girls," and now you, will never be the same!!!!!!!!!!!!!!