We've lost yet another one who wore his heart on his sleeve: Richard Rioux was found dead in Newhall on Monday. He was 53.
Rioux was the third current or former Signal columnist to die within in the past 14 months. Last year, historian Jerry Reynolds and columnist Dan Hon died, and in August, Signal cartoonist Randy Wicks died of a heart attack at age 41.
All to often on these pages, we have been lamenting the loss of a member of The Signal's extended family.
Rioux's column, "Doc Rioux at Large," appeared on The Signal's opinion page for four years. A coupld of months ago, he requested a leave of absence due to personal reasons.
He was the director of Los Angeles County's rehabilitation centers in Acton and Warm Springs and was a leader in the formation ot the Stevenson Ranch Town Council. Rioux was also an active advocate of the planned redevelopment of downtown Newhall, 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.
You could easily spot "Doc" from across the room. He was almost always wearing that big ol' cowboy hat that could hold 10 gallons and then some.
His 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.
He wrote often of his love for his wife, Suzanne, and their children -- three daughters and a son. He wasn't shy at all about it. In print, he'd tell his wife that he loved her, then suggest that other men should profess their love to their wives as often as possible.
These goodbyes, they're not easy.
Take care, Richard, and God bless.
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