Jul 21, 2018


I posted this ten years ago, but I think it still says everything I'd like to say about my dad. Today he would have been 86. Seems impossible to imagine sometimes.

Several of you have asked me if he knew my Rich. The answer is...yes, he did, and he liked him very much.

This is Dad. Mr. Robert P. Rich. He would have been 76 years old today. This probably explains why I have been fighting off the boo-hoos all damn day long. I miss him so much I think I think my heart will break.

This man was a hero. He was a kind and gentle soul. He lived in "houses with women" all his life.....first Grandma and Aunt Lou (because his own father died so young) and then Mom, me, and Chrissy. He used to joke that even the dog (Charlie) was "fixed". This probably explains why he was the way he was. I don't think I ever heard him raise his voice or say a bad thing about any one or any thing. He was funny and ornery and had twinkly eyes, especially when he was hiding cookies in his shirt pocket. You could talk to him for hours or just sit and watch a football game on a Saturday afternoon, and you'd come away feeling better about yourself and the world you lived in. You could depend on him for anything and knew that no matter how much you had royally screwed up, he was still your dad and he loved you.

He loved chocolate and Snyder's hard pretzels. He always smelled nice and he always combed his hair the same way. He didn't like guilt or mean people and he quietly went about making his little corner of the world a wonderful place. He never bragged or lectured. He never hit or grounded. He talked and explained and made you want to be a better person so that he would be proud of you. He hugged and patted your cheek and always let you know how special you were, even when you felt like the least special person on the planet.

Dad could do math in his head and Chrissy and I called him Rain Man because of his ability to do this. He went to Notre Dame and graduated as an engineer, but spent all of his working life as a management executive for Westinghouse. Chrissy and I never knew how "powerful" or "respected" Dad was until he died and his former collegues wrote to us. We found out that this man we loved wasn't just our hero....he had fans all over the world.

The men that came to the funeral told us that our dad was the smartest guy they ever met and the women told us that they all had secret crushes on him. Turns out that this guy we thought was a "nerd" was actually a very popular fellow and could be the life of the party.

Dad married the love of his life on May 23, 1964 and he held her in his arms the morning she died on November 12, 1987. Dad loved Mom more than anything in this world and he gave life to Father Hesburgh's words: "The greatest thing a man can do for his children is love their mother."
I think that the reason why Chrissy and I remain single is that we decided that we saw what perfect marriage was and we weren't going to settle for anything less.  

Happy birthday, Dad. We miss you.


  1. How beautiful.. still moving.. Do I detect a passing
    resemblance to another hero with Rich in his name?
    Have a wonderful and meaningful day, Coni.

  2. That's wonderful! He sounds fantastic—certainly your love for him is. I can only imagine what it would be like to have such a great dad, as I don't have one at all.

  3. A beautiful and touching tribute to your dad. It even brought a tear to my eye. My dad died when I was 11. I have only a few memories of him, but what I do remember was how much he loved my mom, his 5 children, and his extended family, as we spent countless hours with them all. We weren’t a wealthy family, but he always was sure to have a treat in his pocket for us kids, even if it was just a stick of gum.
    I love hearing wonderful stories of happy families....there is all too often very sad ones. Mine actually turned upside down after his death, but at least I have those years of happy times to recall!
    Have a wonderfully happy weekend, Coni!

  4. I believe my daddy hung the moon but it sounds like your dad may have been helping.

  5. That's a nice tribute to the most special man in a girl's life, if she's lucky enough to have him. I know you miss him. Keep your memories of him close in your heart forever. He'll be there with them.