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Dick Scaife: Candid & forthright

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Letter to the Editor
Sunday, July 13, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Richard M. Scaife on a one-to-one basis. After that initial get-together, we had private lunches several times at his Downtown office. More recently, following Mr. Scaife's illness, I had the opportunity to meet with him privately at his home in Shadyside.

As a longtime Democratic Party activist, I did not have positive feelings about Mr. Scaife before I had met him. Following my first meeting, my impressions of this fine gentleman totally changed.

I found Dick Scaife to be a true gentleman in every respect. He was intelligent, considerate, sensitive and genuinely interested in a wide array of subjects. Our conversations covered local, national and international politics along with health, education and social policy issues and our respective takes on various events and individuals.

Dick Scaife was a very brave individual. Despite his serious medical problems, I never heard him complain at any time. He was also amazingly forthright and utterly candid about various health issues and events in his personal life.

Our community owes a great deal of gratitude to Dick Scaife. His generosity and support of many worthwhile causes (some of which may have been anathema to fellow conservative Republicans) were remarkable. He had no hidden agenda or ulterior motives. His desire to assist causes he believed in was totally unselfish and warmhearted.

On the occasion of my last visit a couple of weeks ago, as I was walking out the door, he called me back and asked me about my thoughts regarding the JFK assassination. I smiled and told him that would be the subject of our next session. Most regrettably, that occasion did not occur.

As a lifelong resident of Allegheny County, I shall always be grateful to Richard M. Scaife for his extensive and substantial contributions to this community. On a personal basis, I shall deeply miss this fine gentleman and always recall the warmth and graciousness of his friendship.

Cyril H. Wecht

Squirrel Hill

The writer is a former Allegheny County coroner.

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