…after ten years in a care facility, Rick Howard has died. Cause of death is not yet certain.
Rick was a senior when I was a freshman in high school. He was a smooth little two guard with a wonderful outside shot. He tried to teach me how to shoot a basketball. My clumsiness and self-consciousness doomed his attempts but he kept on trying.
Rick wrote poetry. He had a couple of poems published in national anthologies before he turned twenty.
Rick listened patiently to my constant "God-talk." At some point after his high school graduation, Rick told me privately he had professed faith in Christ. I was glad.
Rick suffered emotionally as many true geniuses do. His battles with schizophrenia were chronic and then constant. He was a bundle of talent, kindness and energy. He just could not always find his way along.
Rick's brother tracked me down today, moments ago, to tell me of Rick's passing. It is possible I will have a part in a small, private memorial service for Rick early next week or later this week.
Rick Howard deserves a memorial. He is a generous, happy memory from my youth, to be sure.
God, bless and keep him,
God, make your face to shine on him,
keeping him unto yourself against that day of final redemption,
when Jesus appears, in all His glory,
with His saints and angels.