Two weeks and a day ago, I went to my favorite restaurant, Nonna Emilia Ristoranté. My wife was still out of town visiting a friend in Las Vegas. This is when I found out that our dear friend, Dick Kokich, had passed away.
I've been going to this place for about fifteen years, so I know the people well. Dick had been playing accordion at the restaurant almost since it opened more than twenty-five years ago. He was a wonderful person that always had a smile and a nice thing to say about everyone around him.
As written by Christina Lent in the Beaverton Valley Times:
His ability to brighten a room with his warm smile, the music of his accordion, giant blooms from his garden and vibrant oil seascapes will be missed by loved ones and friends of the longtime Beaverton resident.
Not only did Dick provide a valuable service to the restaurant by playing there nearly every Friday and Saturday night, he was a huge promoter for them, too. Whenever or wherever he went, he handed out his Nonna Emilia business card to people. I even saw his card taped to the jewelry case at Costco once.
Dick Kokich, Strolling Accordionist
Dick lived in the Beaverton area for 75 years. Over that time, he ran a music store, taught hundreds (thousands?) of students how to play an instrument (piano, banjo, accordion, etc.), painted hundreds of landscapes and seascapes, and grew some of the biggest sunflowers and tomatoes around.
People all over the world know him and will now miss him. Do a bit of the Chicken Dance in his honor.
Finally, from the program given at his service:
Dick is now in heaven, probably with a golden accordion gathering all of the angels together for the ultimate Chicken Dance. They are all dancing among the clouds, laden with hidden business cards and tiny music notes as far as the eye can see....
We miss you Dick.