LUMBERTON — Richard Norton Bacon (Rick) of Lumberton has left the building. His friends will tell you he's in a better place. The rest will say they can smell the Bacon burning. He is stress-free and at peace.
The curtain came down on Thursday night at Southeastern Regional Medical Center.
He is survived by his loving wife of 29 years, Candace Smith Bacon. He is also survived by his son Jonathan Bacon and wife Beth of High Point; daughter Melody Kearse of Rock Hill, S.C., and son Bryan Kearse and wife Liz of Raleigh. Five grandchildren made his life better with their visits.
Rick loved dogs. Trixie, Richie, James Brown Beans and Mr. Woo were the last in a long line of hairy hogs that shared his bed and his affection.
He was born in Auburn, N.Y., July 16, 1947, the son of the late Elizabeth Dunster Bacon and Frederick Neil Bacon. He was also predeceased by a brother, Ted.
He drifted south from upstate New York in 1962 to the mountains of North Carolina, where he graduated without honors in the class of '65 at East Yancey High School. After one undistinguished year at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Rick enlisted in the United States Air Force. He became a Morse intercept operator and spent two and a half years overseas in Turkey and Italy.
After another failed college attempt at Mars Hill College, Rick got his start in media at WKYK radio in Burnsville, N.C. From radio it was on to newspaper, where Rick spent 26 years publishing newspapers, moving from state-to-state looking for a town that would keep him. From Spruce Pine, N.C. to Barnwell, S.C. to Lake City, Fla., he survived buying a Buick LeSabre (the official car of geezers) and a heart attack that convinced him it was time to leave Florida unless he wanted to die young. He headed back to North Carolina to live and work in Rockingham and Lumberton, where he had a good life.
Rick was a Rotarian for over 25 years. He served as president of the Rockingham Rotary Club in 2012-13 and was proud of the work that Rotary did in the community and around the world. He was a two-time Paul Harris Fellow.
In March of 2014, Rick was diagnosed with lung cancer. He celebrated with yet another trip to a Cincinnati Reds game. If you knew Rick, you knew that he was a loyal Reds fan since the late '50s without ever living a day in Ohio. He often said, "There's no explaining taste."
Cremation will take place at the family's convenience and his ashes will be kept in an urn, passed from family member to family member until no one can remember what's in the jar.
Everyone who remembers Rick is asked to celebrate his life in their own way; telling a 'He wasn't so bad' or 'What an ass' story of their choosing. Boiled shrimp and a beverage of your choice should be part of any celebration.
Instead of flowers, Rick would hope that you will do an unexpected act of kindness for some less fortunate soul. Rick liked to buy food for the car behind him in the drive-thru lane, or a meal for a military couple (if he could do it without them knowing who paid). That's a lot cheaper than flowers.
A memorial luncheon in Rick's honor will be held at Pier 41 in Lumberton on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Pier 41 Seafood. Adult beverages will follow at widow Candy's house on Camellia Lane. To the crooks reading this: We left an armed guard and the four killer dogs home from the luncheon. If you come to steal, they will hurt you.