Life Story / Obituary
Richard “Rick” Light loved people, company and parties. He was someone who was always on the go, and his zest for life was contagious to all who were near. Someone who was deeply loved, Rick will be forever missed.
Rick was born October 11, 1940 to Richard U. Light and Rachel Mary (Upjohn) Light Meader. Usually known as Rick, in a lot of ways he was a typical young boy of his generation. His father worked as a neurosurgeon while his mother focused her time and attention at home. Rick was a bundle of energy, and he got involved in many things. This was especially true when it came to mechanical things. Rick maintained an active lifestyle from the time he was a young boy, and he remained in good shape. He loved running, hiking, canoeing with family and friends, and lots of swimming. Sadly, his struggle with rheumatic fever when he was three or four limited his physical activity until about third grade. Rick attended local schools including Western Michigan Teachers College Campus School, graduating in 1958. He excelled in his studies and was also involved in theater, cars, boating, swimming, skiing, and just hanging out with his friends.
With an insatiable thirst for learning, growing, and trying new things, Rick was a lifelong learner. After graduating in 1958, he went on to Yale University. In addition to holding down his studies, Rick was also active in stage lighting and design. As was his usual, Rick delved into a strong group of people around him, and he graduated with his B.A. in English Literature in 1962.
Throughout his life Rick worked hard in work he was passionate about. In his twenties and thirties, he primarily worked in marketing and advertising for a variety of different companies. When Rick was in his forties, he took up sculpture through classes at Western Michigan University, the Kalamazoo Institute of Art, and the Chicago Institute of Art. By the time he was in his late forties, Rick had turned to sculpting full-time. For Rick, it wasn’t even so much about what he actually created, it was more about what he was looking to convey. No matter what he was creating, Rick made sure that he was conveying deeply abstract concepts.
When he was nearly 60, Rick moved to Paris, France, which opened the door further for him to leave his mark on the world around him. He was immediately recognized by one of his sculptures, “Clock Woman” as he won third price in the All-Paris Art Competition. Rick then gained commissions for busts of Albert Einstein, Marc Chagall, and Raoul Rallenberg. He returned to Kalamazoo and established his studio in the Park Trades Center. Rick also installed his statue of St. Joseph in St. Joseph’s Church in Kalamazoo as well as the giant turtle in Festival Park. He was also instrumental in the design of Festival Park. In recent years, Rick has produced numerous sculptures, both large and very small, and in time he was well regarded for his passion as he has pieces exhibited in several places in Michigan.
Although his work was very rewarding, Rick enjoyed so many other aspects of his life. He was married for a time, and through that marriage he became a father to Aimee. Rick was so charitable and kind, and he loved living in Kalamazoo, appreciating the kind and generous spirits of those who live there. He loved traveling including to Europe where he loved skiing. Rick was active at St. Joseph Church and was a great addition to the choir. His love for art easily gave way to his love for history, especially for Greek and Roman history, and he also liked classical music. A staunch Democrat, Rick loved helping others.
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around him, Richard “Rick” Light brought such color to the world around him. He was never one to worry about the little things, rather he gave everything he did his all no matter the challenges around him. Rick loved his family and friends, and he lived to inspire those around him to greatness. He will never be forgotten.
John Richard “Rick” Light, of Kalamazoo, died October 11, 2018, in Kalamazoo. Rick’s family includes his daughter, Aimee Light; 4 grandchildren: Eddie, John and Peter Kubiak and Ottilie Happold; siblings Christopher U. (Margo) Light, Timothy (Joy) Light and Rudolph (Linda) Light; and several nieces and nephews. Rick was preceded in death by his former wife, Francis Light in 2012. Visit with family and friends on Saturday, October 20, from 2-3 p.m. at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 where services will begin at 3 p.m. A reception will follow in the Life Story Center. Please visit Rick’s personal memory page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home.