Reprinted from the New York Times
Portraits of Grief, 2002
Richard M. Keane enjoyed tending his garden in exceptionally grubby clothes while a boom box blasted out Orbison or Puccini; coming home from a business trip and telling his wife, Judy Keane, about the man he met on the plane; riding the commuter bus from his home off the village green of Wethersfield, Conn., to the Marsh & McLennan office in Hartford. (Mr. Keane was making a rare trip to the Marsh’s World Trade Center office for a meeting on September 11.)
Mr. Keane exuded friendliness, loved to collect stories about people on his constant business travels. He believed in public Transportation as a public good. He loved to garden, bringing to life 80 tomato plants this year and growing Connecticut field pumpkins every fall for the children in his extended family.
“Dick was always trying to foist vegetables off on people”, Mrs. Keane said.
And his life was done to music. “If I ask him to put up a picture for me, he can’t do that until the music is going,” she said. He was not the greatest singer but sang in the choir of Sacred Heart Church, where he would shuttle several blind women on most Sundays.
A brother-in-law, Tom Dolan, remembers Mr. Keane’s constant coaching as the father of five sons, the marathons he started at age 40, the communal house paintings every year.
“The glass of water was always half-full for this guy,” Dr. Dolan said.