Dee Richards was my nemesis, my co-worker, my friend, my hero, and I, along with our community, will sorely miss her.
While I was on City Council, she drove me to distraction as editor of the newspaper with her constant editorials about everything we were doing wrong. I used to tease her that she never let the facts get in the way of her opinion. We constantly battled about who "got it wrong." She once told me the only reason she tolerated me was that she was fond of my husband. At least, in her opinion, I married right.
As my co-worker, our discussions often were global in nature, covering every topic under the sun. I took her to work on the days we worked together, and the ride to the ski area was a lively one, continuing throughout our day. She was a political junkie, as am I, and was extremely well read. I learned from her as one learns from a teacher. We didn't always agree, but we both enjoyed the exchange.
As my hero, she showed me that as I aged, I could continue to live life to the fullest, be an adventurer, always ask the tough questions and not be satisfied until I had an answer. She showed me how to never be afraid to stand up for what I believe.
She was a liberated woman, not by choice, but by circumstance. She did exactly as she thought she should, and that's all there was to it. She enjoyed a wide circle of friends of varying age and had the respect and admiration of many.
When she was at the Doak, I would stop by to see how she was doing, and I always said, "Hi Dee, it's Paula." She always responded, "I know who you are!" We had some of our best conversations during these past few months. Although they were brief, they allowed me to tell her of the things I admired about her. She allowed me to say goodbye.
Thank you, Dee, for setting an example of how I want to be in the future. Thank you for allowing me to call you my friend, and I will always be grateful.