Remembering Rick - 27 East

Letters

Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1714905

Remembering Rick

I appreciate being able to express my sincere condolences to Rick Murphy’s loving wife, Karen, as well as his loving sister, Phyllis.

I know that Rick mentored both Gavin and Kathryn Menu, co-publishers of the Express News Group, with tender, loving care and professional expertise at The Independent newspaper, when I was there watching you both win Rookie of the Year honors — because you were coachable! Rick defined your roles and gave you confidence. Since you were both willing to take direction, the entire team flourished.

I know that both of you appreciate Rick’s jovial personality, penetrating intelligence and outstanding sense of humor as much as I do. Since your one big, happy family revolves around appreciation, too, I believe that you appreciate Rick Murphy’s legacy far more than most.

Rick Murphy “Forcucci” and I have been lifelong friends, since 1957. During the summer, he lived in the last house on the left at the foot of Howard Street in Sag Harbor. I lived one street over in the last house on the left at the foot of Meadowlark Lane.

During the winter, I got into the habit of cutting through the Forcucci yard to get to my parents’ house. One fine summer day, I took my usual shortcut, when this scrawny pipsqueak kid jumps out of an apple tree, wrestles me to the ground and declares, “No trespassing, dipstick! This is my home turf!”

What I admire most about Rick Murphy is his indomitable free spirit. He still lives by the Golden Rule and treats others with respect and kindness. Yet let it be known that Rick Murphy is no pushover. He values the truth more than the opinion of those who happen to have belief systems that dramatically differ from his. He never shied away from controversy, even when it meant taking on the Catholic Church to report a sexual abuse scandal in Sag Harbor. Though Rick was as capable of reporting objectively on the president of the United States as he reported on the Grateful Dead rock band, I don’t know anyone who is more down-to-earth, especially now.

As for my belief system, I believe it’s never been about those whose right time has already come. It’s always been about those who have been left behind to find the right way to grieve, by fully appreciating those we love.

Fortunately, no one loves Rick Murphy more than his wife, Karen, and his sister, Phyllis. Since I am a big believer in keeping people I love alive in my beautiful mind by appreciating their enduring qualities, I have already begun communicating with Rick in this way. Thanks to him, there is no end!

Bob Vacca

Sag Harbor

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