July 11, 1965-October 21, 2016|
"Dress me in the clothes
I wore in the day's round.
Lay me in a wooden box…
To be remembered in grateful laughter"
Testimony, a poem by Wendell Berry
Someone recently said of Rick that he would gladly "…give you the shirt off his back." This was true. Kindness and a big, generous heart were always Rick's most defining qualities. Sadly, on October 21 that heart gave out.
Rick loved his wife, Sheri. They were devoted to taking care of each other. He loved his family and had a deep affection for his sisters, Meg and Kellady.
He loved and was proud of his accomplished daughter, Brittany. Our family attended Brittany's wedding to Isaac Baird in November 2015. And this memory is especially precious as it was the last time we were all together.
He never met a dog, or any animal for that matter, he didn't love. He loved the beach, the mountains, reading and music, particularly the Grateful Dead. He gave great hugs.
He loved being in or on the water. At age 10 he was a nationally ranked swimmer. A few years later he was a superb California water polo player. As a beach life guard he saved people's lives.
He was a skilled craftsman with wood, whether it was a deck for someone's home or a beautifully built cedar chest. He would give you a full, hard day's work for your dollar, always with a smile.
Rick died, at his home in Roanoke (Virginia), the afternoon of October 21. We will have a small, private service in Roanoke with Sheri's warm and loving family. The following day, we will place his ashes on his Mother's farm in Pikeville, Tennessee. He and Sheri were married on that farm and he looked forward to the day when they could settle down there.
He struggled with life. But he also found joy in life and he brought that joy to those around him. Now, whatever lies out there after death, he has found serenity.
We love you Rick. You will be so missed by so many. Save us a seat.
Rick is survived by his wife, Sheri, and his daughter, Brittany, and her husband, Isaac Baird, and by his parents, Ragan Phillips and Starr Lafayette, his step parents, Phyllis Theroux and Parky Lafayette, as well as his sisters Meg, married to David Pienkowski and Kellady, married to Mike Bledsoe. His three Pienkowski nephews, Mathew, Lucas, and Bennett, were always a joy in his life.
Sheri's son, Evan Parrish, his wife Jamie and their children were very much a part of Rick and Sheri's life. Sheri's Aunt "Booty" and her husband, Melvin Jones, along with Sheri's extended Roanoke family, welcomed Sheri and Rick with love and open arms.
In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to: The Healing Place, c/o Caritas PO Box 25790,
Richmond, Virginia 23260-5790
Published in Herald-Progress on Nov. 3, 2016