|Performed by Rhos Orpheus Male Voice Choir
Oak Ridge Cemetery
while he was forgetting about his yesterday. Rick was good to me, my big brother, I'll miss
his phone calls, "Hi Kath, need anything?"
For many years I thought I'd write an essay or journal about Rick's life with Alzheimer's.
But Rick's life was much bigger, sweeter and meaningful than the 10 years he suffered
Richard Paul Patram was born in Denver on May 1st 1944 to Muriel and Paul Patram. He
was one half of a set of remarkable twin boys. As a child he loved the family dog, back
yard BBQ chicken, football, cars, coca-cola and his mom. Mom and dad had two sets of
twins, Rick and John first, then Bob and I in '49. We never had a sitter--we had Rick, the
enforcer. He was big but fair.
Our dad was his coach in baseball and he also played football. There were Lakewood
High School championship games yearly that delayed our Thanksgiving dinners until late
because Rick was always playing and all of us wanted to watch. Rick was tall and big in
high school, 215 lbs big! Coach Hancock would say that at Rick's size he should have
been more effective, but he just wasn't mean enough. He and John went on to college in
Nebraska and Rick played more football there. But eventually he set aside the pigskin
and just concentrated on school.
Rick served his country with the US Army, first in Germany and then in Viet Nam in 1969
and 1970. When his tour ended he came home to Connecticut where our parents had
moved to while he was away. Actually we all came home, the three boys from military duty
and me from college. We wanted to be close to each other.
Once Rick was settled he was committed to finishing his education and signing up with
the University of Bridgeport, going to school in the day and running a bank computer Rick
met Eileen Sosinski in 1973 at the wedding of mutual friends. And in 1975 they married in
Connecticut and left promptly on their honeymoon....with my husband and I. Hey, don't
laugh, Bob had gone on John and Angela's honeymoon the year before! Rick and Eileen,
and Tom and I crammed into our little Toyota and drove across country to Arizona,
stopping barely once we got to the Kansas/Colorado border and just long enough to buy a
case of Coors and popcorn. Eileen and I made the boys sit in the back seat until we got to
In 1979 Sarah was born. Rick loved being her daddy. I remember Rick had a trick for
stealing an extra 30 minutes sleep on Saturday morning, he'd sprinkle Cheerios in her
crib! Then in 1981 Megan was born and Rick found himself in a totally pink environment
and loved it all. However, he was known to grip a manly beer from time to time and he cut
his family's share of wood to warm his three girls each season. Rick and Eileen lived in a
neighborhood in New Jersey with other young families and joined a men's organization
with a pention for holiday floats. Our favorite memory is of Rick spray painted blue from
head to toenails as a smurf! The following year he was a Chewbacka.
When they finally moved to North Wales those little girls were growing and getting
involved in activities of their own. Rick wasn't their soccer coach exactly, but according
to Megan he had plenty of advice for her all the way home after each game!
In 2003 Tristan Michael was born to Sarah and I happen to know that this Church came
along side to support and love the whole family. When Tristan was born Rick had already
begun his journey with Alzheimer's. He loved that little boy like none other and for many
years he would tell anyone who would listen that Tristan was his "best friend". Isn't it a
marvel of our Lord that when this family needed a miracle, God gave them Tristan,a
blessing in a small package?
And now a blessing is coming along that Rick will not physically participate in, Megan's
marriage to Bud Myers in November. But Rick will be there, in many ways, with Eileen,
Sarah and Tristan as they walk Megan down the isle. Because make no mistake.......
Alzheimer's didn't take Rick, God did!
BY HIS SISTER, KATHLEEN CHAMPLEY