Farewell my friend: Richard Justice

Farewell my friend: Richard Justice

Farewell my friend.

By Brenda Durant

If you are involved in the Arts in Augusta, specifically in the community theatre, you knew Richard Justice.  Richard died on August 27, 2020, losing his battle with COVID-19.  He will be missed by our community.  The Greater Augusta Arts Council Board, Staff, and Membership offer our condolences and prayers to his husband Terrance Leegan, his family, and his extended theatre family. He was loved by so many people.  He was a dynamo, acting, directing, coaching, and promoting for numerous theatre companies in town.  He leaves behind a legacy of excellent theatre, laughter, mentoring and friendship.

If you want to get to know Richard, social media is filled with stories, photos and video.  I feel like I’ve have known Richard forever. My daughter danced for the Augusta Ballet in the late 80’s and 90’s and Richard was the best Mother Ginger ever, in the whole wide world. He played the ham beautifully, fanning himself, swatting the polichinelles, making his costume sway like a ride at the fair. He was wonderful.  When I joined the Arts Council in 1997, Richard was directing for the Augusta Players. He was in and out of Sacred Heart often, stopping to chat or give me updates on the current show. I will miss our encounters in the halls and the parking lot. I loved running into Richard.

When I started recording my weekly radio show Arts Weekly, he was a frequent guest.  No theatre person likes to get up early in the morning. But Richard, who lived close to the station, was frequently volunteered to talk about shows for the Augusta Players, Le Chat Noir, Ft. Gordon Dinner Theatre, and the Augusta Ballet. He was gracious, enthusiastic, and always… incredibly funny.

Richard had the gift of being ‘present’ when talking to you.  So many who posted tributes talk about his encouragement, his gift for making you feel special, as if you were the most important person in the room, on the stage, or in the show.  I find that remarkable.  I found him remarkable.

So, for all of you who knew and loved Richard our hearts are with you.  For those who did not know him or if you wonder what to do to honor him — I suggest you support Community Theatre.  When we emerge from the pandemic, buy a ticket and take in a local show.  You will be a better person for it.

Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household world that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It it the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well. ”

Henry Scott Holland