Diana Mead Speech at Dick Meadís funeral service June 2015
22 years ago, I won the life lottery. I married Dick and Judy's wonderful son. As they say, one understands that life will change when they gain a spouse, but they are also acquiring a family. This was a cliche that cut both ways though. I brought my three young daughters into the family as well. My girls and I got Rick and we got Grammy and GRANDPA DICK.
When Rick and I announced our engagement, Dick spent several very long minutes reminding Rick that the role of a step parent should not be taken lightly. Later, I learned that while Dick didn't have any step children, he had been a step child. The young man born Richard Fredrick Walschleger, took his step fathers last name as a teen. Dick clearly felt strongly about this topic or he at least chose this as the topic of discussion pre marriage. After all, there were other topics that may have been worthy of parental lecture. I was a divorcee, a bit older than my fiance and challenge of all challenges, a voting Democrat.
Over the years Dick and I navigated several failings out. They were generally over small things that seemed big at the time. The German marching music he insisted on playing at the cabin, even during dinner. Or the tendency he had to say, "Judy, we are going home, despite Judy being involved with a family activity." Or, "No woman is going to tell me what to do!" In a couple of instances, the disagreements were worse. No need for specifics, you all know Dick and many of you know me. The years passed, Judy left us. Dick grieved and had a very rough year in 2000. We all did.
The Dick who emerged, brought Miss Pat into our family. He made it a point to attend every graduation, wedding, birthday party to which he was invited. He called often, "This is Grandpa Dick". No matter who answered including the voice mail. (Every single time I remembered our Son coming home from kindergarten stating very seriously, "do you know Grandpa's name is a bad word?")
Dick informed us every year that he had decided to give each of us money for Christmas because he was no good at picking the right thing like Judy could. This was repeated every year like it was a new decision he had made. What did change over the last couple of years were the cards in which the dollars were presented. No more cash cards. Instead, Dick thoughtfully chose a biblical verse for each of us on his list. His birthday cards too were carefully chosen for each recipient and conveyed messages Dick had never himself put into words.
Early in my marriage one of Dick's fraternity brothers, shared with me, "If you are looking for a reason to dislike Dick Mead, you won't have any trouble finding it. But if you give him a chance you will find a very generous loyal, and proud man who loves his family. "As I get older, I have learned that despite our attempts at tough love, our family always gets a chance, even second and third ones. I did find a generous, loyal and proud Dick Mead whom I loved very much. I miss him already.