Farewell, curmudgeon emeritus

The loss of Guy Richardson diminishes us all

Guy Richardson spent 37 years at the Reno Gazette-Journal, interviewing and becoming friends with such stars as Sammy Davis Jr. and Joan Rivers.

Guy Richardson spent 37 years at the Reno Gazette-Journal, interviewing and becoming friends with such stars as Sammy Davis Jr. and Joan Rivers.

He was funny and a great writer and quite obviously brilliant. I was too shy to even approach the man who sat back in the Style section, near Lenita Powers. Finally, in 1998, I got my chance to meet Guy Richardson. He was going on vacation, and I volunteered to make the single technology page that he crafted every week for Monday’s paper. Guy helped train me, a newbie at the Reno Gazette-Journal, to make pages. When he came back, he praised me and gave me a few tips. He was a gentle critic.

“It’s lens not lense, dear,” he once told me—albeit too late to fix a photo cutline.

Faster than you can say Peter’s Principle, I became editor of the RG-J’s new eight-page Monday Technology section in 1999. The best part of the section was the weekly gizmo column that Guy wrote.

Guy treated human-created artifacts with an intense and childlike wonderment, whether they were technologically complex or merely simple tools. He gave the same weight to computer operating system upgrades as he did to a Winnie The Pooh clock, a waterproof CD player (to play music in the shower) or a keychain calculator.

“You hook the little calculator on your keychain and away you go, armed with impeccable math in an irrational world,” Guy wrote in his Jan. 17, 2000 gadget column.

Sheila Parker of CompUSA’s commercial sales remembers how Guy “always had a book in-hand, usually a classic, and was ever ready for great conversation.”

Parker proposes a Guy Richardson Day for computer donations at local computer stores, where the non-profits, educational groups, community churches, senior and child advocacy groups could receive donated computers.

“Guy would have loved this idea!” Parker says.

Guy enjoyed writing clever column taglines in which he was “powered by Schlotsky’s pastrami” or once “kissed a frog and it turned into Jim Henson. Ribit.”

After he retired at the RG-J, Guy wrote a dozen or so articles and columns for the RN&R. In them, he’d take on hate radio or capture the intrigue of Muslim women. In his Almanack essays, he’d pack loads of information on pop culture, philosophy, science, history and religion into 500 or 600 words. (You can read these at www.newsreview.com/reno/guy_richardson/Archive?oid=16857.)

Guy wanted me to list him in the RN&R staff box as “curmudgeon emeritus.” I can’t think why I didn’t.

Local public relations diva Carol Infranca says she’d known Guy since the 1970s and had been doing quite a bit of corresponding via e-mail in the past few years.

“He was my secret editor,” she says. “When you have your own business, you have non-journalists read your stories and have clients check them—but there was nothing like the Eagle Eye of Guy.”

There’s not enough room to express the fond memories of Guy that many of you sent to the RN&R.

It’s only right that the last time I saw Guy he was helping me do newspaper layout here. He showed me a new trick or two, and worried over the state of our antediluvian Mac monitor.

“There’s software you can download that’ll fix that problem with your on-screen text, dear,” he advised. “Do you want me to install it for you?”

Guy’s wife, Zoe Rose, says that Guy expressed complete contentment with his life just days before he died. “Not a day went by that we didn’t look at each other and think how lucky we were,” she says. “And he was a terrific dad. He gave his children enough love to last a lifetime.”

My friend, veteran RG-J writer and RN&R contributor Guy Richardson died Jan. 14 in Reno. He was 65.

His favorite Soupy Sales quote was: "Be true to your teeth and they won’t be false to you."