Richard Light

Richard David "Dick" Light

Passed away in Miami, Florida, on Saturday, December 15, 2012, at the age of 86. He lived a full life and was under the loving care of his children through his final days.

If Sports Illustrated were to name a "Sportsman of the Year" from the ranks of everyday men, Dick would have been in the running. He was an accomplished athlete in many sports, but Dick's real essence was his sense of sportsmanship and fairness. They defined his approach to life and the legacy he leaves for his children and grandchildren.

Dick was born in Decatur, Illinois, on August 21, 1926, the son of Curtis and Margaret Light. His family moved to Indianapolis in 1938. He graduated from Shortridge High School in 1944, where he starred in basketball and track and met many lifelong friends, none more important than his beloved and devoted wife, Betty Thompson.

During WWII, Dick served in the U.S. Navy while attending Penn State and captaining the basketball team. He graduated from DePauw University in 1948, where he also played basketball and served as president of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

Dick displayed an uncanny penchant for creating new companies, usually for the benefit of those he loved. After having worked at Spickelmier Industries for several years, Dick forged his own path in the building supply industry. In addition to his flagship company, Architectural Brick & Tile, the companies he launched included Light and Tompkins, Clean 'n Seal, Con-Trol of Indiana, Nycon, and, finally, Ceramica, Inc., where more often than not one will find at least one of his grandchildren toiling during the summer. Dick established lasting friendships and a national reputation for excellence in the industry, and, at age 86, he was still involved in the business with his children.

Dick was a member of Gyro International, the Indianapolis Athletic Club, and a charter member of Woodland Country Club. He was a Silver Life Master of the American Contract Bridge League and played in numerous tournaments throughout the Midwest and Florida Keys with Betty, daughter Marcia, and his cherished companion for the last twelve years, Patricia Krout.

Dick thoroughly enjoyed attending the countless school activities of his seven children. He coached his sons in Nora Little League baseball and Jordan YMCA basketball. Unfortunately, as Dick's body could attest to from the many backyard games, the boys' tendency for frequent, hard fouls, along with other "shortcomings," precluded any high school basketball. He taught his kids how to play golf, tennis, and squash, but evidently was a poor teacher as he invariably won in their countless matches. Of the many special memories that his family shares, summer weeks in Michigan are highlights.

Dick was preceded in death by his wife of 49 years, Elizabeth Jane "Betty" Thompson Light; his son, David Curtis Light (Brenda); and his sister, Jean Light Jamison. He is survived by his daughters Marcia Fidler (Glenn), Marianne Townley (Steve), and Elizabeth Link (David); and his sons Keith (Sue), Andrew (Christine), and Douglas. Dick's survivors also include 17 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and 12 nieces and nephews.

Services will be private. There will be a celebration of life on February 23 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the The Light Room at Woodland Country Club, Carmel, IN. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Dick's memory be sent to Shortridge Magnet High School for Law and Public Policy, 3401 North Meridian Street, 46280.

Published in the The Indianapolis Star on Dec. 22, 2012