A Seattle treasure is gone! Ken
and I attended the memorial service for our friend, Dick Friel
, last week at the Museum of Flight
. I estimate that there were around 1,000 people in attendance of what was organized as a grand celebration of his life. He was loved by so many of us who had the opportunity to work with him over his lifetime. Though we served together on the PONCHO
board and had the opportunity to work together for many years, my closest association with Dick
was when I served as PONCHO
President in 1998 and had the benefit of working with him closely to raise $2 million for the arts that year.
The memorial celebration began with a Missing Man Formation Fly-Over of four jets organized by Joe Clark, Bruce McCaw and Clay Lacey. We all moved outside to view the fly-over and as the one jet left the formation and began a slow upward ascent away from the other three, I know I certainly got a lump in my throat and saw many others with shiny eyes too.
Once back inside, Bob Flick
long-time friend and usual auction item announcer, emceed the celebration. It began with a welcome from Kevin Callahan
, Chairman and Dr. Bonnie Dunbar
, President and CEO of the Museum of Flight
. Pastor Bruce Swanson
shared the 23rd Psalm
, musical interludes were performed by Melvyn Poll
and Dick Foley
, a video detailing Dick’s aviation marketing awards was presented and tributes were shared by Joe Clark
of Aviation Partners Inc.
and Palmer Pettersen
. Others who shared tributes were Carol Munro
, Patti Payne
family members, wife Sharon
and sons Rick
and Chris Friel
There was a lot of laughter as the speakers fondly reminisced about Dick’s energy and passion for everything he was involved in during his long career in aviation marketing and in his avocation of auctioneering. Some of his interesting quirks were recalled such as stamping his foot when something sold at an auction, or launching his note cards in flight once he was finished with each one. An interesting factoid shared was that Dick and Sharon Friel, truly a dynamic duo, have raised more than $300,000,000 for the many charity auctions they have participated in over the years. Dick’s joke team including Tom Mathers, Don Cohan, Joan Byrne and Brad Goode shared some of Dick’s best jokes over the years and had everyone laughing.
favorite song, “Moon River”
was performed by their daughter-in-law, Kim Virant
accompanied by Friel
, Mike McCready
and Ty Bailey
and we concluded the memorial with Dick Foley
performing and leading us to participate in the song, “I’ll be Seeing You”
Following the celebration of Dick’s life was a big reception in the Great Gallery where we had the chance to say hello and visit with hundreds of friends who also cared about honoring the life of Dick Friel. Though he is gone, he left each of us with special memories and as he often said, I say to him now in hopes he will hear my message, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”