My dad, Richard Joseph Yonika, was one of the most incredible people I have ever known. I know a lot of children say that about their parents, but I really mean it. Have you ever seen the move Big Fish? It is about a man whose stories about his life that are so fantastical you can hardly believe them. My dad had a life like that.
He built a plane with his own hands, without ever receiving an engineering degree. He built boats that float and drones that fly. Until his last days he had a fascination in how anything and everything worked. After one of his treatments, he brought home his radiation mask, just because it he wanted to tinker with it. He had a wild adventurous side, sailing across oceans of the world, flying his family to Martha’s Vineyard for pancakes, piloting his motorcycle at over 100mph down Comm Ave in his glory days, and picking up any mode of transportation he could find for cheap and fixing it – back hoes and plows with no breaks, boats and jet skis that sank, and catamarans that blew away.
My father was an avid animal lover and one of his best friends was a wheaten terrier named Eddie. The pair could often be found on the couch around lunch time sharing a ham sandwich or a takeout box from the local diner. My dad was also a lover of food and was known to drive far and wide for something delicious to eat, especially seafood. He called it going on a “clam quest.” I think he bought a property on Prince Edward Island to have his own stock of lobster. We learned quickly to never ask him to cook quahogs though.
He also loved and was extremely proud of his family, which he would tell anyone that would listen. Most of his joy came from their joy.
His very last meal was an ice cream sundae with coffee ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate pudding and nuts. Some of his last words were “that’s so cold, you could shatter a nipple.” Basically, what I want everyone to know is that the world lost a very spectacular man on March 22, 2020.
There are no scheduled services. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, PO Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284-9168. Please direct the donation towards Sarcoma research.
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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
PO Box 849168, Boston MA 02284-9168