Richard Lewis Kolm (1935-2009)
I thought I'd share some of our memories with anyone else who might be interested.
- Richard Lewis Kolm Obituary (ANG Newspapers, March 6, 2009)
- Richard Lewis Kolm Biography (written by mom and shared at the memorial, 23.7Mb pdf)
My brother, Brian, and I sorted through and scanned lots of old photos which we posted around the chapel. I turned a handful of them into a slide show. Here's the video, via YouTube:
It was originally set to "Blue Monk", which Gene suggested.
Bri and I also stood up and talked about our own memories of dad. Here is approximately what I said:
One of the things I've been doing the past few days is sorting through more than 40 years worth of family photos. It's brought back so many happy memories – family trips, parties with family and friends, and the activities I did as a kid.
There aren't as many pictures of dad as I expected, though, probably because he was usually the one holding the camera. And when I think about dad, that's often how I remember him – with a camera or video recorder in his hand.
And while he didn't even make it into every roll of photos, he was always there. He was supportive of all my various extracurricular activities - even though I'm not sure he was really that interested in swimming or ballet or soccer. I could always count on his support.
Dad and I did share many interests. He was interested in science, and always encouraged me to study science myself.
His stories about his college days helped me decide to attend UC Berkeley. He made sure I was well prepared for that too - I'm pretty sure I was the only Freshman in my dorm who already knew the California Drinking Song.
We also shared an interest in history and genealogy. We spent a lot of happy hours researching and compiling our family history. That's a project I plan to continue.
Of course in some ways we're really different. Dad liked to plan and organize, while my style is to do things haphazardly and at the last minute.
But he's always been there when I needed a helping hand, sometimes even before I'd asked for any assistance. He helped me build school projects, was with me when I bought my first car (my only car), and he would even jump right in and do dishes when he came over for dinner.
I admire how honest and responsible he was. Just as an example: when I was in elementary school he wouldn't help me sell Girl Scout cookies in his office. That's because he was a manager, and he didn't want to do anything that might seem like he was putting unfair pressure on the people who reported to him. I found that annoying at the time, but now I really respect that.
And, while he was very hard working, he always made sure he had time for us and for the things he enjoyed doing, like traveling and train watching.
I don't recall ever hearing him being spiteful or intentionally cruel.
I'm proud to be his daughter and I miss him very much.
The last line is really all I wanted to say. And I still have trouble reading it.
Thanks to everyone who has been their for us over the past few weeks. And thank you for being part of dad's life.
Photos, top to bottom (click for larger image):
- Me helping dad build the deck (1968)
- Off on a family trip (1973)
- Me and dad on a hike at Lake Tahoe (1977)
- Getting my PhD (1997)
- Mom and dad in New Zealand (1992)
- Dad, me, Gene and Brian (Christmas 2008)