I just learned today that my oldest friend died Thursday in Dusseldorf, Germany. I've known Richard since middle school. I know he put up with huge amounts of derision from the casual cruelty that passed for coolness among adolescents. As I recall, most of us could've been the target for similar barbs, but for some reason Richard was singled out all too often to be the class pinata. He was a very loving person, a devoted friend and enthusiastic father to two small children. Richard's first marriage, to Japanese woman, ended in divorce, but a few years ago he met Lily, when he was stationed in Bulgaria with the Commerce Department. He wanted very much to have a family and had far too little time to enjoy them. I believe his posting in Dusseldorf was to be his last in the Foreign Service, and he was looking forward to the next phase of his life.