Richard Rioux was a special human being. Intelligent, insightful, sensitive to the beauty in nature and in people, he wrote columns about seeing a coyote one morning as he jogged in Santa Clarita, about his faith in God, about his love for his wife and their children, about how we should cherish one another and try to get along, because while we are not perfect, we are individually precious.
As director of the Antelope Valley Rehabilitation Centers, he spent most weekdays trying to help people who had been addicted to alcohol or drugs turn their lives around, leave their addiction behind and begin happier, more productive lives.
President of the Stevenson Ranch Town Council, he was active in numerous community efforts to improve the quality of life in Santa Clarita. He ran in our local marathon and had ideas on how we could beautify our surroundings and bring visitors and business to our town. He seemed to revel in all the activities and in knowing the many nice people with whom he worked.
I have lost three people I considered friends since last August. Signal cartoonist Randy Wicks had exceptional talent and a wonderfully creative mind. You know this because you enjoyed his work almost daily in The Signal.
Attorney and Frontier Days host Dan Hon was always jovial and ready with kind words whenever he spoke with me. In his Signal columns, he expressed some political views and told stories from his experiences. Always interesting, he radiated good cheer and a charming sense of humor.
Richard Rioux would come into the Signal offices to deliver his column wearing a cowboy hat. He crafted words of wisdom and enthusiasm for this community and its future in his Sunday writings. I always looked forward to what he had to say.
Somehow, I thought these special people would be here for a long, long time. It is only natural for us to hope that the people we like and admire will live forever, so we sometimes tend to take them for granted.
I wish I had gotten to know them better. I wish I had picked up the phone more often to inquire how they were doing, what interested them and what concerned them, what they thought about and looked forward to.
If there is a lesson in the passing of these unique human beings, perhaps it is that we should take more time to be with friends and loved ones. We should take more opportunities to let them know we appreciate them. We can all do more to brighten the lives of the people we are privileged to know. Who knows? We just might make their day or lighten the burden they are carrying.
May peace be with you, Richard. May you find magnificent beauty and eternal love in God's embrace.