Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Rick Veach (1959–2017)

Rick Veach was our plumber and our heating and cooling specialist through almost all the twenty-seven years we’ve lived in our house. And he was our friend. I’m not sure how or why we first called him — probably on someone’s recommendation. He never needed to advertise.

A visit from Rick was a visit, for real. Whatever work there was to do, there was also time for conversation, conversation that went in any and every direction: our children, his children, the school system, building codes, guitars, vacation destinations. Rick told us once that he knew he could make more money by just doing the work and going to the next job, but that visiting with people was part of what he liked about his work. He told us that he thought of us as friends. And that’s how we thought of him.

Rick solved problems that many a person would have walked away from. I often quoted him to my students: “A problem is just a challenge that hasn’t been overcome.” I loved that, and I still quote it to myself. And Rick solved problems with absolute integrity. When the mini-split system that he installed in our house failed to work properly, Rick tried fix after fix. He called the manufacturer, repeatedly, and finally figured out the problem: the manufacturer’s specs failed to mention a maximum distance between units. Our two units were just over the limit. So what did Rick do? He replaced the system with one from another manufacturer — at his own cost. We couldn’t even pay him for his labor. But we did get him to accept a large gift certificate to a favorite restaurant.

Here is a song that Rick told us was one of his favorites: “Once Upon a Time.” He had the Jay McShann recording on his phone and played it for us once, and the three of us stood listening in our hallway.

A related post
Rick solves a minor mystery : One more Rick Veach story

comments: 2

Berit said...

Sounds like an awesome guy; I think I remember the hashing out of the Two Units incident. Or maybe I remember another reference to it. Gone too soon—sorry for your loss, prayers for his family.

Michael Leddy said...

I was trying to figure out where I could’ve mentioned it — did I mention it? — and then I found it here.

Rick was an awesome guy, in many ways. He was one of the finest people we have ever known.