In Memory

Richard Adcock

Richard Adcock

Richard Seth Adcock, a self-employed advertising copy writer and desktop publisher, died April 2 at his Fort Worth home. He was 40. Born April 15, 1951 in Fort Worth.

A memorial service was April 4 at Laurel land Funeral Home in Fort Worth.

Mr. Adcock was a lifelong Fort Worth resident. He was a published fiction writer and poet and was a member of the Trinity Arts Writers' Association and the Oklahoma Federation of Writers Association.

He received numerous awards in creative writing competitions.

A Richard S. Adcock Scholarship Fund to help other creative writers has been established and contributions may be made to the fund in care of J.G. Spiegel, 3750 W. Fourth St., Fort Worth 76107.

Survivors: Sister, Lavonna Starnes of Fort Worth; brother, Walter Adcock of Fort Worth; and grandparents, Clifton and Goldie Carlisle of Houston.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Date: April 18, 1992

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03/15/11 01:48 AM #1    

Robert Irvin


Richard was a sensitive, moral, intelligent and a kind mentality.  I don't know why he passed, but perhaps he had fulfilled his humanity.

06/28/18 09:16 PM #2    

Jayne Loader

Richard Adcock was one of my closest friends from 1968 until the day he died, tragically young.  

Richard was an amazing friend.  If you needed a ride to or from the airport, or someone to help you move, Richard was there.  He drove people to the Emergency Room and bailed them out of jail.  He helped me buy my first car and made sure it was in perfect condition before I drove it back East.  He built my first computer, then helped me to access this new thing, the Internet (this was in 1983--before most people even knew what the Internet was).  

Richard's parents also died tragically young and he inherited his childhood home on Sharondale.  After graduating from UT, he moved back there and never left.  His house became a gathering place for our dwindling social group.  During summers or holidays, to find Nancy Reid, Angalene Eckholm, Susan Motheral, Dale Hopkins, Craig Childs, Miles Hawthorne, Kipp Baker, Kyle Harder and many others, you'd drop by Richard's, where they'd be sitting at the kitchen table, playing Scrabble, Spades or Hearts while Richard played his guitar, then listening to "A Prairie Home Companion."

Richard wanted more from me than friendship, was appalled by my terrible taste in men.  He finally  persuaded me to move back to Fort Worth to live with him in the fall of 1983.  Richard supported me--financially and emotionally--while I wrote my first novel.  But having me around was not as wonderful as he'd imagined it would be. Sometimes the girl of your dreams is better in your dreams than in your kitchen, nagging you to eat vegetables and refusing to cook the doves you'd just shot, because hunting was immoral;  in your living room, redecorating; or in your office, blasting rock and roll while jumping on her trampoline.  So, Richard wasn't all that heart-broken when I skedaddled  back to New York City in late 1984 with the first draft of my novel in hand.  My mother, however, was bitterly disappointed.  She said not marrying Richard Adcock was the stupidest thing I had ever done in my entire life.  

To be fair to my mother, Richard had encouraged her in the delusion that we would marry.   On Christmas, 1983, we played that dumb game where everyone brings only one present and then passes them around, according to some complicated rules.  But there was only one really great present:  a beautiful 1929 lamp, a statue of a woman looking down into a wishing well.  When you turned on the lamp, a little propeller in the well spun around and cast shadows, like rippling water, on the walls. It was fabulous.  (My mother's then-boyfriend, an idiot savant where antiques were concerned, had pulled it out of a trash pile somewhere.)  Anyway, Richard got the lamp.  I just assumed he would give it to me, but he didn't.   "I'll give it to you as a wedding present," he said. 

Even though Richard was never officially my mother's son-in-law, he played that role to perfection for the rest of his life, visiting her almost every weekend to change light bulbs, fix her appliances, hammer loose boards on the steps and trouble-shoot her old car.   Unlike me, he never nagged her for smoking;  didn't try to get her to eat right or exercise;  and wasn't shocked when, at 8 o'clock in the morning, she said, "Put another star in your crown, Richard, and get your poor momma a beer!"  

Richard's kind heart extended to total strangers, too.   While I was living with him, we had a meth head up the block and one night, about 2 a.m., he started banging on doors.  "I'M JUST. SO. CRANKED!" the guy was screaming.  He wanted somebody to give him a Valium!  Porch lights were popping on all over the block, people were peering through their curtains. But nobody would let the guy in.  When he got to our house, I wanted to call 911.  But Richard opened the door and went outside.   We didn't have any Valium, but we did have a fifth of George Dickel, so Richard brought that out with him, onto the porch, sat the guy down and poured him a drink.   A couple of hours later, Richard was still out there, talking to the guy in his calm, soothing voice.   When he came to bed, "He was just so cranked," Richard said.

After our romantic fiasco, Richard and I went back to being the best of friends, mostly, talking on the phone and writing hundreds of letters.  We passed chunks of our works-in-progress back and forth (Richard was a fantastic editor) and gave each other much-needed, honest criticism.  As a writer, Richard was a keen observer with a  cool, dry wit, addicted to bad puns.  (His favorite coffee cup, which I still have, was a Gary Larson cartoon of a Boneless Chicken Ranch.)  While I admired writers who got their energy by encountering new people and places (like Hemingway and Fitzgerald), Richard emulated  writers who stayed in one place, got to know it thoroughly and never left (Faulkner, Welty, Garrison Keillor).   Richard was such a warm and generous person, he was never even a little jealous when I published two books before he finished his first. On the contrary, he was proud of me and a little bit amused to discover parts of himself in my fictional characters.   One of his favorite lines--"He's got arms like Popeye and a face like Eugene O'Neill"--described Richard perfectly. 

Richard hated leaving Texas and hardly ever did leave, except to go to Mexico, to hunt.   Despite this, he flew to New York for my first wedding in 1989, giving away the bride (my father being AWOL), charming my new husband and all my New York friends and enthusiastically participating in the post-party party at the Royalton. A couple of weeks later, a wedding present arrived:  the wishing well lamp from Christmas, 1983.  It's sitting in my dining room right now.

Two years later, Richard died of cancer.  What a tragedy. I still can't believe he's gone. His  friends and family entrusted me (as the only published writer in our group) with the draft of his unfinished novel. Everyone hoped I would give it a light edit, then sell it to a publisher.  It would be a huge, posthumous hit, like "A Confederacy of  Dunces." This didn't happen, unfortunately.  But I still have the manuscript, if anyone wants to read it.




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