John Richard Light

Born: 11 October 1940
Died: 11 October 2018

Rick LightRick Light died in his hometown, Kalamazoo, MI, on the 78th anniversary of his birth, of a heart attack while leaving his birthday party.

After finishing the Campus School at Western Michigan University, he graduated with us in 1962. His father (’24) and two of his brothers, Tim (’60), and Rudolph (’65) were also Yale graduates. A member of TD and its football team, Rick majored in English and was active in the Dramat, where he was involved in stage design and lighting. In 1974, he earned an MA from Northern Illinois University, and in his early 40s began four years of sculpture training at the school of the Art Institute of Seattle. (If your 40th reunion class book is handy, look up his charming entry, giving a good sense of what he was like and what he was doing.)

Rick is another one of us who, after 20 years, underwent a profound career change. During the first period, he worked in marketing and advertising for a variety of different companies. When he was nearly 60, he moved to Paris where one of his sculptures won a prize in the All-Paris Art Competition. He was commissioned to create busts of Einstein, Chagall, and Raoul Wallenberg. After he returned to Kalamazoo, his statue of St Joseph was installed in St Joseph’s Church, as well as one of a giant turtle in Festival Park, which he also helped design. One of his 2018 sculptures won the People’s Choice Award, and he participated in 12 shows from coast to coast. On our web page there’s a piece entitled “All The Light You Might Be Glad To See More Of” with images of his work.

From his obituary in the Kalamazoo Gazette (10.14.18): “With an insatiable thirst for learning, growing, and trying new things, Rick was a lifelong learner…. He loved running, hiking, canoeing with family and friends, and lots of swimming…. (When he) turned to sculpture full-time… it wasn’t even so much about what he actually created, it was more about what he was looking to convey…. deeply abstract concepts…. Rick was so charitable and kind, and he loved living in Kalamazoo, appreciating the kind and generous spirits of those who live there…. He was active at St Joseph Church and was a great addition to the choir…. He was never one to worry about the little things, rather he gave everything he did his all, no matter what the challenges around him. Rick loved his family and friends, and he lived to inspire those around him to greatness.”

Through his marriage to Frances, who died in 2012, he became father to Aimee, who along with 4 grandchildren and several nieces and nephews, survives him.

John Harger Stewart