Mama Deb (mamadeb) wrote,
Mama Deb

Bad news

My husband's uncle, Dr. Richard Wisan, retired professor of Philosophy at Hartwick College, died yesterday afternoon in what we believe was either an accident or a heart attack.  The facts as we know it are that he'd had a repairman come to fix his stove.  The repairman left him alone to pick up a part.  When the repairman returned, he found Uncle Dick on the bottom of the cellar stairs - and that must have been awful for him.

He called the appropriate authorities immediately.  He also took in Uncle Dick's newly adopted kitten.  We don't know this man's name but we would like to very much as he seems kind and thoughtful.

Uncle Dick was a brilliant polymath.  He was endlessly curious about everything - radios when he was younger and computers when they came around.  His house is filled with books and gadgets and just *things* collected over his lifetime.  And, yes, he taught himself computers, enough so he could teach them himself.  He taught at that tiny college in Upstate New York, though, because in a world of publish or perish, he perished.  He never completed anything beyond his dissertation and some humorous articles.  I'm not sure he cared.  He spoke about "the children", meaning the college students,  sardonically but with affection.  He loved the life he was leading.  He loved it so much that my brother-in-law decided that's the life he wanted and he is now, in fact, a college professor.

He and his wife, also a college professor, never had children of their own, but they loved their nieces and nephews.  She herself had a long and debilitating illness but I got to meet her when there was still some sense of who she had been.  She died a month or so after our wedding.

He'd just fully retired last June, after a couple of years of part-time teaching.  And he was looking forward to it. He was happy and positive, which was a wonderful thing to see in him.  And he adopted Fiesta to replace "Little Guy", who'd died not so long ago in an auto accident.  He was prone to depression and had, in fact, attempted suicide a few years ago, so we were very relieved and happy to hear about the kitten. 

We miss him already for his dry humor and his deep knowledge of practically everything and his love of music and technology.  Rest in peace, Uncle Dick.

The funeral will be Sunday.
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