It’s hard to believe that it was 14 years ago, February 26, 2009, that Rick Beckett passed away at the age of 54.
I often think of Rick’s last blog post — that he posted just three days before his death. It was a quote by Leo Rosten:
“The purpose of life is to matter, to be productive, to have it make a difference that you lived at all—using the talents that God has given you for the betterment of others.”
Looking back on Rick’s life and times, I think he accomplished exactly what that quote was referring to.
Here is the blog post I wrote the morning after Rick’s death. (Thanks to Adam Diaz for helping me find it!)…
“This is a blog entry I never, ever, wanted to have to make. I’m not even sure it’s possible to put complete sentences together at this point, but here goes…
“On Thursday night, I received that dreaded call of the passing of a friend and co-worker, Rick Beckett.
As most of you know, Rick and I started working together when I was just a part-timer at WKLQ back in 1989. I was honored to take the job of becoming a permanent member of the ‘Q-Morning Zoo’ in September of 1993.
Throughout those 15+ years we had a lot of fun working together on the airwaves in West Michigan. Oh sure, there were a few bumps in the road along the way, but those minor setbacks always made the team of ‘Rick and Scott’ that much stronger.
I’m always asked, ‘What is Rick Beckett like off the air?’ Well, he was pretty much the same person when the mic was on, as he was when the mic was off (aside from his “list of words and phrases you can’t say on WOOD Radio!). One thing I don’t think people realized was how big of a heart Rick had. He was always bringing in goodies for co-workers when he came into work in the morning. When we had food delivered to the station (due in part to his superb job of begging on the air), he took pleasure in making sure he could give it away to co-workers.
Needless to say, I didn’t get any sleep last night. The harddrive in my head was on constant rewind, replaying so many ‘Rick Beckett Moments’ in my brain.
To Rick: You will be deeply missed my friend, Rest in Peace, and share the remote a little with all those around you in heaven!! And you always used to say ‘hold the applause until after the show’, well I think now it’s time for all that applause.”
In the days following Rick’s passing I spent countless hours sorting through audio in an effort to put together the best “tribute” show that I could. I didn’t get much sleep that weekend.
Back on February 26, 2009, we were both enjoying a few days off. I was down in St. Louis, MO, visiting a friend when I got the phone call. The following morning Gary Allen and Steve Kelly took calls from listeners for the entire morning. Here is the call I made into the show that Friday morning…
Once I arrived back in Grand Rapids, WOOD TV did an interview with me at the WOOD Radio studio. Here is that interview…
On Monday, March 3, 2009, I did the toughest radio show I have ever done. I’m not really sure how I made it through. I was dealing with a cold, plus I had very little sleep. That combination made for a very raspy and weak voice, but Rick’s spirit was there to push me — and we made it through those three hours.
Here are all three hours of that show…
I’ll be honest here…It has been 14 years and I have yet to listen to those three hours in their entirety. I’ve heard the beginning couple of minutes of the first hour, and the final minutes of that last hour, but that’s it. I just can’t quite bring myself to listen to the whole show. I guess having been there when it happened — I still can remember just about the entire show in my head…I don’t need the actual audio.
Here is the digital billboard that WOOD Radio had following Rick’s death…
Here is another great tribute put together by Scott Fitzgerald…
One of Rick’s biggest fears in life was that he would be forgotten after he passed away. Oh if he could have realized how he would be remembered. People still talk about Rick as if it were just yesterday that we lost him. Those memories surely have not faded in the least.
CLICK HERE to hear other “Rick and Scott” audio clips.
In the comments below, leave your fondest memory (or memories) of “King R.B.”. I’d love to see them and I’m sure others would like to read them as well.
….Listened to you guys every morning at work.,, Made for a lot of laughs…. You’re a good friend to Rick Beckett for remembering him today. He was funny and is missed still….
We listened to the Rick and Scott show every day at work. So miss King R.B. Was the best part of my day.
Rick was one of those larger than life personalities. I was working for Clear Channel at the time and always listened to Rick and Scott in my office and was thrilled when he’d respond on air to something I had emailed him during their show. During the autoshow in 2009 I had the great pleasure of working the remote with Rick and Scott. Watching Rick interacting with his fans was amazing. He never took them for granted. He and I got into a conversation about the cinnamon almond snacks available at the show and he asked me what my favorite nut was. I told him I loved macademia nut cookies. A few days later he came up to my office with a bag of those cookies. I was floored that someone like Rick Beckett would take the time to do something for me. He gave me an on air shout out at what turned out to be his last day at work. I will never forget walking into work the morning of the 27th to see the phones ringing off the hook and several of my co-workers in tears……….they told me Rick had passed the night before……………all I could think of is him coming up to my office with those cookies………it was an honor to have known him even for just a short time. RIP King RB. You are forever missed. Scott thanks for posting the 3 hours of the tribute show……I still cry every time I listen to it….almost like being back in my office listening to the show.
Listened to the show in all its forms and was always a fan. Miss you all and nothing has come close in this market since.
I remember sitting at work and laughing out loud and my co workers asked what I was laughing at and I said the “Rick and Scott show” then they started listening also. He definitely cheered up our day!
Now I sit here with tears streaming down my face and I miss him so much. RIP Rick-you are missed!
I listened to the Rick and Scott show everyday. Rick is still missed and we think of him often. There will never be a show of that quality again, I miss you too Scott as you brought much to the other half of a great show. Take care and again thanks for posting today. A loyal fan
I listened to the Rick & Scott show every Day at the Ole Steelcase. Helped me through the dreaded early Work shift, and kept me going. He sure is Missed. RIP-Brother.
I don’t know why but the thing I remember most about Rick’s advice was he loved satellite TV and if anyone still had cable you were an idiot. Crazy how that just popped in my head
I don’t know why but the thing I remember most about Rick’s advice was he loved satellite TV and if anyone still had cable you were an idiot. Crazy how that just popped in my head. I loved listening to him and his viewpoints
I can’t listen to the three hours either. Breaks my heart. Like to remember Rick’s laugh and just smile instead…..
my favorite morning show…. haven’t ever found another
Listened everyday to you all. Miss you all.
Aneurysm Jim remembers! Peace be w you neighbor!
You 2 had the best morning show on radio! Still haven’t found one I like to this day. You guys were so funny n the stuff you used to make roving Ralph do was awesome!!! From the short time darla was on there to the people that you had on there like busty heart! Never gonna be a show like that one. Crazy to miss someone I never met only listened everyday from the day I moved to West Michigan in 1995 to the last day you guys were on the air. Still follow you 98.7. Thx for the great times!
I was working one day and Rick came in. I said hello Mr. Beckett. He asked how I knew who he was. I told him that everyone in Grand Rapids knows who you are. I told him that my mom was a big fan and asked for his autograph. He wrote on a piece of paper… Rick Beckett was here. Told me to put it up next to my mom’s bed….so I did. He was so sweet.
One of my favorite moments was meeting Rick at the station to bring him a recorded VHS tape of Andrew Dice Clay comedy show that he missed. He was very cool about it even after 5 yrs of giving him that tape I had ran into him and asked him if he enjoyed it because he still had it lol. You guys made mornings fun from the Qzoo to wgrd and then to wood. Never missed a morning show. Rick is definitely missed and there was no one like him.
Something jogged my memory today about Rick’s death, I can’t believe it’s been 11 years. That led me to this posting. I was an everyday listener of your morning show on Wood and even years before. I looked forward and enjoyed listening every morning. I’ve never been as connected to local events and news as I was during that time period. Scott I always admired how you handled yourself dealing with the loss and selflessly honoring your friend and co-worker. It’s amazing how a couple of voices from complete strangers over the airways can become such a part of your life, make you laugh, smile and enjoy living. Thanks for continuing to honor your friend. Writing this has brought back those smiles.
What a nice message! Thanks so much. I’m glad that I can put a smile on your face from time to time. That was part of the reason I put together my blog site. I wanted to be able to share some of the old “Rick and Scott” audio that I had. I have some more I need to post. Also found some old new stories that featured our show.
I was really lucky that I found your radio show after I moved to Grand Rapids around 1995. I still remember listening to Rick, Darla & Scott
I always thought Rick was really funny and outgoing and I always loved all the data and information you gave in your comments.
I miss Rick and Rick, Darla & Scott, but I’m really glad you are still on the radio. you do a great job and thank you for this remembrance. I know Rick is proud of you.