Obituary: Robert Riche, 92, author, poet

Robert Riche, author of novels, plays and poetry, died after a brief illness on February 26 at his home in Ridgefield, CT. He was 92-years-old.

Mr. Riche, a resident of Ridgefield for 43 years, was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He attended the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Mass. and graduated from Yale University with a degree in English Literature. Upon graduation he worked as a reporter on the Schenectady Union Star, then as a correspondent for the United Press in Manhattan, followed by a long career in public relations.

A prodigious author, Mr. Riche’s works include eleven novels and a common sense guide, “The Ten Most Troublesome Teenage Problems and How to Solve Them,” which he co-authored with Lawrence Bauman, PhD. His play, “Malcolm X” had its world premier at England’s Bristol Old Vic. His hilarious political farce, “The Great 200th Anniversary H-Bomb Crisis,” performed at the Magic Theater in San Francisco in 1972 could have just as aptly resonated with today’s audiences.

Toward the end of his long, productive life, Robert Riche was better known for his three books of poetry: “Days Like These,” “In the Waiting Room” and “All the Days, a Memoir in Poetry.”

Mr. Riche was a recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts Grant, an Advanced Drama Research Grant and the winner of a Stanley Drama Award. He was a Norman Mailer Writer’s Colony Scholar and a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Scholar.

Robert Riche’s growing awareness of his own mortality was often reflected in his later poems, as in “The Procrastinator” from “Memoirs in Poetry”:

          I see myself as Lear

          in the wilderness

          with no way back

          to my former throne.  

          I’m coming. I’ll get there.

          Even if I stall,

          it won’t avail.

          I won’t be ready, but

          hold your damn horses,

          you know I’ll go.

In addition to his wife, Fran, Robert Riche is survived by his son, Pierre Riche, his daughter, Michele Schuster, and his granddaughter, Charlotte Schuster.