ALBANY, GASubmitted by Tom Hedrick
Richard Handley Waller artist, poet, and lover of music.
"What if you had been a child put to work in a cotton field near Roanoke, AL, and ten years later you found yourself in a room with the Emperor of China? It happened to me, but I didn't have the slightest idea who the man was."
This was the lead sentence to the autobiography Richard Waller was working on before his death. It also reflects on the extraordinarily interesting life he led.
Richard Handley Waller, 81, of Albany, GA, died of heart failure August 8 at Phoebe Putney Hospital, after a long illness. The body will be cremated as per Mr. Waller's express wishes. He will be interred in Roanoke, AL, next to his beloved Mother, Father and Brother; Ethel George Waller Hedrick, Handley Saunders Waller and Thomas Eugene Waller. Mathews Funeral Home in Albany, GA is in charge of the arrangements. A graveside memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. (CST), Saturday, August 16, 2008, at Cedarwood Cemetery in Roanoke, AL. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Albany Symphony in memory of Richard Handley Waller.
Mr. Waller was born in Roanoke, AL, grew up in Newnan, GA, and served in the U.S. Army in Manila and Tokyo in Gen. Douglas MacArthur's Headquarters. While he was in the service, his family moved to Albany, GA. In 1954, he received a BS degree from the School of General Studies of Columbia University in the City of New York, where he lived for twenty years. He returned to Georgia in 1970 and was retired from Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation. He made his home in Albany for over thirty years and was well known in the community.
Mr. Waller was a world traveler and enjoyed the art and architecture of the many countries he visited. He enjoyed his retirement in Albany and was a member and past president of the Georgia Artists Guild; a staunch supporter of the Albany Symphony; and a member of the Albany Writers Club. A talented writer who was not afraid to express his opinion on matters he cared about, Mr. Waller also often injected humor in his editorials and poems. Many will remember his letters to the editor in The Albany Herald's "Squawk Box" and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Also a talented poet, he was the author of two books: Beethoven's Brain and Other Poems, which was used as part of the ticket sales for the Newport Music Festival in Newport, RI in 1995 and what he considered his highest achievement; and The Famous God Said Sonnets. He also composed music and lyrics; played the violin and the guitar. Always creative, he won awards as a talented painter and photographer.
Mr. Waller had an inquisitive mind, and was constantly reading and studying music, art, writing, religion, and, in later years, mastered the computer. He liked to point out that on his paternal great-grandfather's gravestone is carved these words that also describe his life: "He did what he could." His wit and his e-mails will be sorely missed by his family and many friends. He loved to share his knowledge with all.
He was born a Baptist, but died a Universalistone who believes that salvation is extended to all mankind. A life-long bachelor, he is survived by cousins on both sides of his family, Wallers and Georges, and by many nieces and nephews of his step-family, the Hedricks of Albany and Atlantasome loved, some unloved; and, the feeling was mutual. He is also survived by his beloved cat, Prunella.
Mathews Funeral Home