The recovery community lost one of its giants with the unexpected passing of Richard H. Rioux, PhD. of Stevenson Ranch (Los Angeles County, CA).
Rioux died April 28, 1997 at Newhall at age 53. He left a wife, Suzanne, and four children -- three daughters and a son.
No, I never met "Doc Rioux" face-to-face. But after reading his commentaries published in The Signal of Santa Clarita Valley, California and on the Internet, I felt as if I knew him. His easy-going writing style made you feel he was sitting across from you in an easy chair and having a chat. The wisdom that was imparted on those pages was priceless and didn't stop with his stories on recovery issues.
An editorial in The Signal last week said Doc Rioux's column "ran a gamut of topics, from local politics and redevelopment to family, child-rearing, religion, exercise for the body and spirit alike, and, sometimes, simple things like the sweet smell of flowers on a sunny springtime day."
Dr. Richard Rioux was Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Antelope Valley Rehabilitation Centers at Acton and Warm Springs, where he worked hands-on with more than 22,000 residents recovering from alcohol and drug addiction. Acton is the largest such facility in the nation in terms of clients served, and Warm Springs is the nation's third-largest.
His service to his community did not stop there. A tribute to him read into the Congressional Record by U.S. Rep. Howard P. (Buck) McKeon, said he pioneered the development of an innovative literacy training program which has helped thousands of people attain the literacy skills and knowledge needed to be productive and responsible citizens.
Doc Rioux was also president of his local town council, an active advocate and participant of the redevelopment of the downtown district, and his work as a freelance photographer was published on post cards depicting various scenes from the Santa Clarita Valley. "Images," a book of his photographs, was published last year.
According to the tributes that poured into The Signal from those who knew him personally, Doc Rioux was a person who touched the lives of many people from all walks of life.
May God grant us all the courage to leave this world a little brighter than we found it, as Doc Rioux surely did.
As always, your comments or questions are welcomed.
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