By Paul Thompson
Sheffield Neighborhood Association President Mark Morales informed neighbors and community leaders on Tuesday, August 1 that Sheffield resident Richard “Dick” Seidelman was found deceased in his home on the evening of Monday, July 31.
Seidelman, an advisory board member of the Sheffield Neighborhood Association, was found by a concerned neighbor after attempts to reach him were unsuccessful. Seidelman was a decorated Marine and wounded veteran who, Morales noted, never let his disabilities hinder him. Morales noted in an email that in addition to his role on the Sheffield advisory board, Seidelman also bought a riding lawnmower for Sheffield’s mini orchard at 10th and Newton, and regularly mowed vacant lots in the neighborhood for the benefit of the community.
Here at the Northeast News, we remember Dick Seidelman as a gregarious neighborhood advocate who was a steadfast supporter of community journalism. Behind an iconic handlebar mustache, Seidelman almost always wore his trademark wry grin. As Morales described, Seidelman was also generous with his time. This January, I ran into him as he volunteered at Our Lady of Peace church for the MLK Day of Action, a community service partnership started several years back by Morales and Indian Mound Neighborhood Association vice president Manny Abarca. He was engaging as ever as we dished about the happenings around the neighborhood and at City Hall. Seidelman had strong, fully-formed opinions, but he was also respectful and good-natured. I lingered in the parking lot outside the church – probably for too long on a deadline day, to be honest – enjoying the back and forth.
Later this year, I once again encountered Seidelman as he celebrated Flag Day at City Hall. We sat next to each other before the proceedings, exchanging pleasantries. He was there in support of Tracy Jackman and her 13-year-old daughter Honey. Though the Jackman’s weren’t technically related to Seidelman, they were close enough to refer to him as Uncle Richard. Honey was participating in the Flag Day ceremony, and Seidelman beamed with pride as he listened to her speech before the City Council. The Jackman’s were obviously important to him, as was the American flag; I left our interaction struck by his pride in country.
Seidelman also had a unique connection to the Northeast News. Before every municipal and national election, without fail, Seidelman would purchase an ad in our paper urging residents to vote. He didn’t push political agendas or preferred candidates – the message was always a simple reminder. You can see the latest such advertisement on the 12th page of the August 2 edition of the Northeast News. It reads, “To all my friends and neighbors in the Northeast: BE COUNTED! Vote in the Election on Tuesday, August 8. Paid for by R.G. “Dick” Seidelman.”
If you ever had the pleasure of meeting Dick Seidelman, honor his memory by voting in your local election on August 8. When you’re done with that, endeavor to help your neighbors, respect your community, and treat those around you with dignity. In short: make sure that your voice is among those that is counted.