My dear friend died on Thursday. You might know him, because I came to know him through the semiconductor industry. If you didn’t, it’s a shame, because he was a person well worth knowing. His name is Dick Schedtler. If you didn’t know Dick, you might know Andrea Roberts, his devoted wife and business partner. Together, they established AR Marketing, providing PR services to many companies throughout the industry.
In the few years that I’ve known Dick and Andrea, our friendship accelerated quickly from business associate to extended family. They’ve welcomed my daughters and me as guests in their home on several occasions, most recently last May, during ECTC 2009. While I spent my days at the conference, my teenage daughters made themselves right at home. Dick took them for rides on his motorcycle, chauffeured them to and from the neighborhood pool, and taught them some of his favorite recipes. Andrea also took time off from her business to take them to the San Diego Zoo. We all had a ball.
Dick was one of those rare people who can get you to tell him your whole life story without even realizing you’re doing it. That’s probably because he was equally open about his own story. He approached life with an open mind and an open heart. He was more comfortable in his own skin than anyone I’ve ever met. His generosity extended to his home, his time, and his enthusiasm for life. He was truly interested in what people had to say. He delivered advice in an understated manner. I can recall more than one evening at Dick and Andrea’s home, killing a good bottle of red wine, philosophizing about everything from religion and politics to raising children. He gave good advice, and I was more than happy to listen.
So here’s some of what I know about Dick. What he loved most was Andrea, their combined children, their beagle, Skippy. Some of his greatest pleasures (in no particular order) were motorcycles, being a host, time with family and friends, Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, sampling microbrews, good wine, great conversation, home projects, watching basketball, and being Andrea’s husband. Theirs is truly an industry love story. They met a birthday party at an industry event – I think it was SMTAI. They courted by phone and mail until the phone bills were so expensive, it made more sense for Dick to move to San Diego (at least that’s the way he tells it.) Andrea tells me he was the love of her life. That much was obvious.
When Andrea first emailed me with the news of Dick’s illness, she began with these words: “It’s strange how things can change in a second.” No kidding. The speed of his passing takes my breath away. I keep picturing him leading me to the freeway on his canary yellow Ducati just a few months ago. It was his alternative approach to simply writing down the directions. (Really, it gave him an excuse to take the bike out for a spin.) As I tried to keep up, him flying gleefully down the road like Speed Racer, I was laughing to myself thinking, Man; this guy knows how to live. Indeed he did. We’ll miss you, Dick. And we’ll never forget you.