Rick began his next journey on March 18, 2021 at the time of his choosing and on his own terms, narrowly missing St. Patrick’s Day. He was full of gratitude for his life and the opportunity to spend time with his family as well as his many friends who remained deeply connected with him until the end. Left to cherish the many memories are his wife of 40 years Maureen “Mo” and daughters Sarah Graham (Steve) and Joannah Graham, as well as grandchildren Joshua (Sierra), Gabriel, Sydney, and Avery. Rick was predeceased by his mother Eleanor and his sister Kitty. Born in Thunder Bay on May 3, 1952 to Terry and Eleanor, Rick was the second of six children. He was a loving brother and brother-in-law to Mike (Diane), Maureen (Ken) MacKinlay, Terry (Bunny) and Sue (Wolf) and the best uncle to eleven nieces and nephews. Rick was a cultivator of many things; he grew ideas and projects, and nurtured lifelong relationships.
He was a gentle, generous and caring soul and was always concerned for the well-being of others. As a self-professed humorist, he loved to tease and was always up for a visit, a drink, and the opportunity to solve the problems of the world or those of his friends and family. While Rick earned his living as a contractor, he spent his lifetime reading, seeking and searching for better ways for us to be good to each other, to live in a more egalitarian society, and to ensure we left the planet in a better state. He didn’t see hierarchy in the natural world.
He delighted in his Irish, English and Metis heritage and gained respect for diversity and Indigenous cultures during his time with the Breakaway Hockey Foundation along with various local community and non-profit projects. Rick would tell his family the best two decisions he ever made in his life were to marry Mo and buy their beautiful home. He enjoyed spending time on their patio watching the sun set and building a roaring fire in the winter. He reveled in entertaining friends and family and was always the last to shut down the party whether it be a hockey party, the annual Christmas Eve bash, or a Canada Day fireworks celebration, or just a spontaneous Friday night. Rick used to say he loved his pooches almost as much as he loved Mo and spent many hours on the local trails with Cleo, Skets, and most recently Maya. Over the years Rick and Mo enjoyed trips to Sante Fe, Wenatchee, the Okanagan, Tofino, Ucluelet, and Salt Spring Island, as well as many raucous camping adventures. In recent years there weren’t many places he longed to explore; however, he would have relished one more trip to George Street in St. John’s. Sports played a big part in Rick’s life, both as a spectator and a participant. He met the love of his life when he asked Mo to play doubles in a local tennis tournament.
Rick was the co-founder of the Free Radicals Hockey Club in 1999 and supported the construction of the infamous ‘Pig Pen’ outdoor hockey rink. He never got to see the Canucks win the Stanley Cup but would fondly recall his time visiting Madison Square Gardens and the opportunity to meet ‘Burkie’. He played endless rounds on local golf courses and even made his way to St. Andrew’s for 18 holes. Regrettably, Rick’s only witness to his highlight reel, hole-in-one was his young grandson for whom he trusted would vouch for him. Rick loved his role as ‘Gramps’ and logged many hours in the den introducing his grandchildren to Mad Max. After-school pickups and trips for hot chocolate and cookies will not be forgotten. He instilled a love of books and offered space for conversation and shenanigans; all done with humour and laughter.
Special thanks to Dr. Stefanyk, Dr. Calder, the Marjorie Willoughby Snowden Memorial Hospice, as well as his ‘guardian angel’ Ashley DiGeso for their care of Rick and his family over the past two years. A shindig to celebrate Rick will be held at a later date. Donations to the ALS Society are welcomed. We will miss your anecdotes, your presence, your love and your laughter. You will be dearly missed, cheers.