Farewell, Dear Friend

April 18, 2018

 To the Editor:


Your tribute to Dick Lutz in the March 24 issue was beautiful and touching. The editorial characterized the man I knew as my dearest friend and my virtual brother for nearly 59 years.


I was privileged, but deeply saddened, to spend his last few days with him as he visited Sarasota, Florida, to lend me support during upcoming test results for my chest scan. His presence offering that support so typifies the person Dick was, though he often kept hidden that side of his character.


We became fast friends in the late 1950s. We met while pursuing similar curriculums at the University of Michigan. Common to our backgrounds was the fact that we were both only children of very caring parents. We both possessed intellectual curiosity, competitive instincts, and an interest in electronic communications, known then as simply radio and television. 


As a close friend, he was also a mentor. His creative writing and entrepreneurial skills were overwhelming. Over the years, I worked with him and for him, during his college days as business manager of the University Players and later as he served as the number-two person establishing WITF, a public television station in Hershey/Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.


Over the few days preceding his passing, it was like old times. We talked about, debated, and occasionally argued over important domestic and international issues, as well as trivia. We even reminisced about how our early conversations might have been about the coeds we were dating, but now covered health issues and current test results as we both dealt with the aging process.


Dick was my go-to person for grammatical questions, which occasionally arose with the community newspaper I published in Sarasota, inspired by Dick. Topics ranged from the Oxford comma to appropriate and inappropriate uses of apostrophes – the latter, a favorite item he loved to nitpick.


Over the years, we occasionally went for long periods of time without talking, but kept in touch by snail mail, then email and telephone. Over the past three years, we spoke three or four times a week. I miss those calls.


Those of you on the Island will miss not only his writing and journalistic research skills but also his personal friendship. I’m already missing the sound of his voice, the chats of the important and the mundane.


RIP, my dear brother.


Irwin Starr


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