We’re saddened to hear of the passing of Richard Pitts Monday. But we’re certainly glad to that the community got one last chance to show him some affection.
Friends, colleagues, kids and admirers from around Manhattan rallied in front of his home on Leavenworth Street Friday to show him the kind of love he had earned in the decades he lived here. He came here to study at K-State, and never left.
He started the Wonder Workshop, a children’s museum in downtown Manhattan. He went to schools and put on programs that delighted and inspired kids and adults around the community for decades. He focused programs on black history and topics like the Underground Railroad, but what he really specialized in was connections. He made people happy.
They told him that and showed him that Friday, cheering and chanting and honking during the tribute.
“You are our champion,” said Deb Nauerth, principal at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, near Mr. Pitts’ home. “You are our hero. You are our friend. You are our brother. That light that you’ve brought to all of us, today, we have come to shed that sunshine back to you. We love you so very much.”
Mr. Pitts had been diagnosed a decade ago with colorectal cancer, and family members were aware that the end was near. That’s why the tribute was organized Friday.
It is very gratifying that the tribute could take place before Mr. Pitts passed away; it would have been a shame to miss the chance to let him know what he meant to our area.
We’ll miss him. We’ll miss his smile and his energy, and we’ll miss the way he always made everyone feel better somehow.
“As we walk away, we all walk away better because of you. And we all walk away asking ourselves each day, how can we have more love, like Richard Pitts gives all the world?” Nauerth said tearfully.
That’s perhaps the best tribute, and the best way to leave this editorial: What can we all do to create more love in the world, the way Richard Pitts did?
Farewell, Mr. Pitts. Thank you for that legacy.