One of my best friends died yesterday morning. Dick Golden, known to his friends as Dickie or RIG, passed away in Arizona where he had recently been taken by his lovely wife Sandie. She called us yesterday to let us know the news.
Dick, Sandie, my wife Carolyn and I hung out together for years and years when we all lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. Nearly every NFL Sunday Carolyn and I would drive over to their beautiful home in El Granada, just outside Half Moon Bay, to watch the Niners' game and enjoy some of the best food I've ever eaten in my life. During baseball season, the four of us had season tickets at the new Pac Bell (later AT&T) Park in downtown San Francisco. For several years, Dick managed a football pool involving the four of us and, later, two of his grandsons. In recent years, age and distance conspired to keep us from such regular contact but I know we both considered ourselves best friends right up to the end. Sandie remains among our best friends and favorite people.
I first met Dick when he and his wife were living in New York City, where they spent most of their abundantly creative years. Sandie had developed a HyperCard stack called Cleo the Clownfish with the help of her son Michael (who remains one of the most talented programmers I've known). I was at that time a sort of HyperCard guru and superstar, having written and published the first book focused solely on HyperTalk, the scripting language that made HyperCard smart. I delivered a keynote at a Mac conference in New York and then trekked to the Goldens' apartment where we ate Chinese take-out (what else?) and became instant good friends.
Dick was one of the most creative guys I ever met and I've met a lot over the decades. He had a quick mind that could grab three ideas floating around a room and create an ad campaign or a slogan or a new product idea seemingly instantly. He and Sandie spent the last few years of their advertising career together as Synectics consultants helping companies figure out how to deal with changing times and shifting product landscapes. Dick is famous for having created the "Reach out and touch someone" campaign theme for AT&T.
But for me, Dick was just the kindest, gentlest, funniest curmudgeon on the planet. He was as quick with a brilliant bit of sarcasm as he was with an expression of love or concern. The world is a better and richer place for his having spent a brief time here and a little the poorer for his departure.
One of Dick's last lucid moments came when his beloved Giants, whom he had supported even before they moved to San Francisco, won their first World Series in more than 50 years. Even in the depths of the illness that robbed him of his memories and his cognitive brilliance, Sandie tells us he understood the feat and "clapped his hands like a happy two-year-old." I'm glad he lived to see that and that he had the good sense to move on before the Niners disappointed us all once again with dismal play from a talented roster.
Dick wasn't a religious man and he didn't believe in an afterlife. That's OK, I have enough belief for both of us and I am absolutely certain he and I will run into one another again in our next experience where the Giants and the Niners will be perennial champs worthy of the great love Dick had for them, for Sandie, and for life.
God is blessing you now, my friend, like it or not.