Obituary: Richard John Stanewick

Richard John Stanewick

Richard John Stanewick

Richard John Stanewick, born September 2, 1919, died peacefully at his Sunny Brae home on May 22, 2014. He was 94 years old.

Richard was born in Bellevue (now a suburb of Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, the only child of Anna and John Stanewick. Richard’s father had classical music often playing on the old Victrola as far back as Richard could remember. During Richard's elementary and secondary school days, he studied trumpet and was in the school orchestra as well as the marching band.

Richard met his wife, the late Phyllis Tripplehorn Stanewick, in 1942 at the Harlem Ashram in New York City. They were married at the Ashram on May 1, 1943. Both had fond memories of their New York City friends and surroundings.

During World War II, Richard was a conscientious objector. He was first in a federal prison and then on parole doing hospital work. Richard and Phyllis moved to Vermont in 1947 to try back-to-the-land, living in a log cabin they built themselves. Not a good fit.

Then back to New York City where Richard was employed as an elevator operator, and Phyllis began teaching piano. Richard entered a contest where the top two people received all-expenses paid educations at Columbia University. He was the first runner up. However, one of the students dropped out, and Richard graduated from Columbia University in 1956.

For several years, Richard taught school, but he finally settled on library work: Amherst College, Temple University, University of Southern California Medical School, and finally, Humboldt State University. These all seemed to fit well.

The couple moved permanently to Arcata in 1972. They participated with St. Alban's Episcopal Church and the Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship for many years.

Richard and Phyllis led lives in which their love for music was always reflected. They had musical soirées at their home: people coming with their instruments to spend evenings reading music together. Phyllis continued to teach piano.

In 1987, Richard became a classical music programmer for KHSU-FM. He programmed Illuminations for 25 years until illness prevented him from continuing in late 2013. His program had a wide, loyal following as demonstrated by people in restaurants, hospitals, the post office, grocery stores all recognizing his voice and thanking him. Richard commented that the radio program was a great source of nourishment for him. Twice he was given the Volunteer of the Year Award by KHSU.

One of the couple’s favorite quotations was by Confucius: “Virtue is the strong stem of man's nature, and music is the blossoming of virtue.”

The Stanewicks lived a life where reading was also a major activity. Their books and their musical CDs were among their most precious possessions. They combined a life of mind, spirit, and heart. Both were often attendants at concerts and art exhibitions. They loved their walks together. Both were current on political and social issues. Richard is remembered for his curiosity, his deep love of music, and his love and commitment to Phyllis.

The couple developed deep life-long friendships. Friends who will keep Richard alive in their memory are many and include Victoria Mason, Pam Mendelsohn, Sue and Archie Mossman, Alberta Taylor, James Mearns and the KHSU community.

Toward the end of his life, Richard was very grateful to the Hospice staff, and to his many caregivers. Tax-deductible donations may be made in memory of Richard to: KHSU-FM, 1 Harpst Street, Arcata, CA with “Richard Stanewick” in the subject line. Donations can also be made at in the “Tributes” section.

A memorial service will be held at the Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in October with details to follow.