Richard Michael Schafrick
April 18, 1962 – September 13, 2021
Swinging Dick was born too late to be a swinging 1960s bachelor, but that moniker suits him nonetheless. Picture, if you will, a classy hippie guy with a glossy horseshoe mustache, some jazzy lounge music piped in via unseen speakers, atomic looking clocks and furniture strewn about a room filled with sexy women sporting beehive hairdos. Rick was a self-proclaimed Adonis and a god among men. I speak the truth. We could all learn from his ability to put himself on a pedestal in the best possible way. Possessed of a pure form of self-confidence, that might have bordered on egomania if it weren’t for his full-time habit of not taking himself too seriously, Rick was amazing and he wasn’t afraid to tell you.
He was a dissident, malcontent, friend to misfits and rebels. He loved Archie Bunker, Benny Hill, and Monty Python among other questionable heroes and influences. He heckled the hecklers, championed the weaklings, and freely embellished the mundane details. He was irresistible to animals and Italians from the Old Country…
Alright. Wait. That’s probably not quite how I’m supposed to do this. Sigh. It’s just that Rick was such a weird connoisseur of obituaries that I have to get this right… Let me start over.
On September 13, 2021 Richard M. Schafrick scored a backstage pass to The Afterlife. He left the General Admission area and went where we cannot follow.
Born in Hartford in 1962, Rick’s family moved to Middlefield, CT in time for him to be heavily influenced by the Powder Ridge Rock Festival that never quite happened. He attended Middlefield public schools and Xavier High School, graduating in 1980. He dazzled both teachers and classmates with his quest for knowledge. Rick was a voracious reader. He read the newspaper, front to back, most every day of his life. This man read the entire World Book Encyclopedia in 6th grade, and seemingly never forgot any of the facts he learned therein, making him a formidable trivia player. This year’s team, Arabica Rose and Her Magic Peonies, will have to carry on without him. We wish them luck.
Rick was ever ready to discuss old movies, baseball stats, obscure bands from any genre, or world political machinations throughout the past four or five centuries. He was the coolest of cool cats, a skilled teller of tall tales, a stalwart Yankee’s fan, and a gentleman to little old ladies and raving lunatics alike. Honest and forthright, he he did not pander to the tender-footed. Quick to help those he loved – even if it meant lugging a box of rocks across the country – he was kind, sweet, funny, and sarcastic. (It’s a sign of intelligence you know.) Rick made everyone feel like they were his best friend.
Rick is survived by his Mother Anne Motta and her partner Raymond Cheverier, sister Robin Pisaneschi and her partner Daniel Lauriendeau, brother David Schafrick, and the love of Rick’s life, his little sister Malissa Schafrick, brother Robert Houtkoper, nephew Kolin Schafrick, niece Kierstin Schafrick, and his beloved cat Mizzie. He is predeceased by father Bruce Schafrick.
Even though he’d lament being stuck on the lowest rungs of America’s economic ladders, and harrumphed weekly about working for a living, Rick really liked to work and kept various jobs to make a dime or a dollar. Monday through Friday, he worked as Logistics Manager at Madison Polymeric Engineering.
On Saturday mornings he manned the Altar of Commerce at Klekolo World Coffee in Middletown. The High Priest of the Holy Roasted Bean reigned supreme over Court Street, doling out Espresso and Salvation to all who needed it. His Saturday morning flock will not soon forget him.
On the 7th day, he rested. Well, comparatively. On Sunday nights, he was known to his radio listeners as Psychedelic Rick, hosting the Psychedelicatessen on WESU, 88.1 FM. With a rich velvety voice, reminiscent of a crooner from the 40s, Rick guided his listeners on a long strange trip through the cosmic oceans of time and space. Psychedelic Rick was a rock star, a legend in his own mind, which went a long way towards making him a legend in our minds too.
Rick’s work with music wasn’t confined to those Sunday on-air shifts. He helped local bands pull off any number of artistic shenanigans, and he was a tireless cheerleader for local music, avidly supporting all performers he found interesting. He was good at making connections with psychedelic celebrities for insightful interviews, and he was almost always in a band. Who could forget Lobotomy Lunchmeat or Punk Floyd?
As a young man, Rick spent a good amount of money and time following The Grateful Dead around the country. He was a lifelong Deadhead and he did a mean Jerry Garcia impression. (Late 80s Jerry, not 90s Jerry, or 70s Jerry.)
The dimensions of Rick don’t end there! He was also a veteran. Being the superlative and patriotic American that he was, he lied to get himself into the Navy, but when they found out that his bad knee was really quite bad, they sent him home. He never passed the VFW volunteers without buying a poppy pin.
Rick was an inspiration in living life to the fullest. He was absolutely one of a kind, all heart and soul, and fantastically comfortable in his own skin. Snark and wit were the twin pillars of his outward persona, but if you listened carefully between the lines, you’d catch some very worthwhile wisdom. These are just some of the things you may have learned from Rick:
There are always more creative ways of saying a thing.
If you’re going to bullshit someone, do it with total conviction.
Pay attention to sunrises, notice the flowers.
Hug every chance you get.
Chill out. Don’t worry so much about the “what ifs.”
If you have a sense of humor, if you are polite, honest, and real, and if you really know how to value who you are, you’ll have all the tools to have a good life. So…
Live while you’re alive, I promise, you won’t survive. (That last one is actually Mel Brooks, but it’s something Rick’s passing can teach all of us.)
Rick’s Psychedelicatessen is Closed.
Thank You. ThankYouVeryMuch.
Calling hours at Doolittle Funeral Home, 14 Old Church St. Middletown, CT 06457 will be held on Monday, September 27th, from 4-7 PM.
On Saturday, October 2nd, from 2-5 PM we invite you to join us at the Quarry View Historic Park and Campground at 311 Brownstone Ave. in Portland for an outdoor celebration called Toast and Jam: A Celebration of Psychedelic Rick. Prepare to share with us a few words about him (Toast), and we hope you’ll bring your instruments (Jam).
Quarry View is a non-profit, primitive location that you enter at your own risk, (you don’t want to be wearing high heels). Our celebration of Rick’s life will be held rain or shine. No glass is allowed at the park and this is a sober event. This park is a place of healing, not a place of partying. Please respect that.
Quarry View hosts a drum circle every Tuesday and Saturday. So, after our Toast and Jam,attendees are welcome to stay at the park for a drum circle that will go on all night
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the family to cover stuff like printing this far-too-long obituary, or helping with expenses, including for the celebration of Rick’s life. Such donations can be made in person at Klekolo World Coffee, 181 Court St. in Middletown. Or online at Go Fund me “Psychedelic Rick”. If not that, then a donation to WESU Radio Station is a fine option. Read this WESU – “Psychedelic Rick” then click the donate tab at the top of the page. Rick will shine sparkles and rainbows on you from wherever he is now if you do…
Obit by Rick’s close friend of many, many years, Hollie Rose 💜