We ran into Richard Weaver-Bey some years ago, and the big man was excited. He was putting study rooms with computers into two buildings he managed in Hartford's North End. As one of eight children, he knew it was sometimes hard to find a quiet place to study.
Not many apartment managers would think of this, but Mr. Weaver-Bey did. Mr. Weaver-Bey, who died last weekend at 63, had a remarkable commitment to Hartford and its people.
Indeed, friends wondered if he was overcommitted. At one point in the 1990s, Mr. Weaver-Bey was running two businesses, serving on the Hartford school system's board of trustees, taking part in the MetroHartford Millenium 2000 planning project and serving as an elector, director, chairman or trustee of almost 30 other civic or community groups, from the chamber of commerce to the Boy Scouts.
"I've been to hospitals and seen people struggling just to take each breath. It may sound corny, but for those of us who have the blessing of health, it's a waste not to be as productive as we can," he told an interviewer.
Mr. Weaver-Bey was bright, upbeat, engaging and deeply friendly; in a racially divided city, he easily crossed all boundaries. He might be at an Oprah and Gayle gala on a Saturday and be in his North End office talking to neighborhood kids on Monday.
RWhen he was born in 1944, blacks could not join The Hartford Club. In 1999, Mr. Weaver-Bey became the organization's first African American president.
We will miss him.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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