2010 Citizen of the Year: Richard Lykes

Richard Lykes

Richard Lykes was a giving man — of his time, talent and, ultimately, from his estate after he died. By all accounts he loved Rappahannock County and was beloved by many who came to know him.

For his generosity to the county, the Rappahannock News names him the 2010 Citizen of the Year — posthumously.

Lykes died in February 2009, but his estate wasn’t settled until this year. He left “in the neighborhood of $2 million” to the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation (NPCF) with the stipulation that it be used in Rappahannock County, according to M. Cole Johnson, the foundation’s executive director, and Fran Krebser, co-executor of the Lykes estate.

Krebser said $200,000 was also left to the Headwaters Foundation, $10,000 to the Rappahannock County High School Band, $20,000 to the Krebser Fund for Rappahannock County Conservation, $10,000 to Wakefield Country Day School, $10,000 to Trinity Episcopal Church in Washington and $10,000 to the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office.

The bequest to Headwaters will be used to establish a communications scholarship in Lykes’ name and an architectural and arts scholarship in the name of Lykes’ partner, Grover D. “Buddy” Darden, who was an architect and died in 2008. The scholarships will be available to students through the Next Step program. The program will also receive funds for operating expenses.

The sums given to Wakefield and Trinity will be placed in endowments. The funds for the sheriff’s office are to be used for office improvements.

Past Citizens of the Year

Eva Smith

1979 Herbert Barksdale and Mary B. Quaintance

1980 Rachel Aylor

1981 Mr. and Mrs. William Carrigan

1982 Howard and Helen Holschuh

1983 Don and Judy Bomberger

1984 Mr. and Mrs. James P. Jamieson

1985 William A. Buntin

1986 Rayner V. Snead

1987 Roger Roach

1988 Phil Irwin

1989 James W. Fletcher

1990 Frances Thornton

1991 Maurice O’Bannon

1992 Rev. Jennings W. Hobson III

1993 Marie Davis

1994 Barbara Gentry

1995 Paul Nichols

1996 Louise Van Dort

1997 Col. J. Stewart Willis

1998 John Hartline

1999 The Fletcher Family

2000 John W. McCarthy

2001 Charles K. “Pete” Estes

2002 Patrick O’Connell and Reinhardt Lynch

2003 Dr. Werner Krebser

2004 Ann Spieker

2005 Wendy Weinberg

2006 Bob Lander

2007 Bill and Linda Dietel

2008 Claudia Mitchell

2009 Bev and Hal Hunter

— compiled by Thomas Nicklin

The Rappahannock County Library will get a copy of Lykes’ digital archive of photos he took of Rappahannock County.

Since 2000, the Warrenton-based Northern Piedmont Community Foundation has been receiving donations to invest and then disperse to nonprofit organizations in Rappahannock, Fauquier, Culpeper and Madison counties.

“During my tenure at Headwaters, Richard helped me immeasurably,” said Johnson, who was executive director of the Headwaters Foundation in Rappahannock for three years before leaving in March 2009. Headwaters funds programs in the county’s schools, such as the Farm-to-Table, Starfish Mentoring and Next Step programs. “I could call him five minutes before the event and could ask him if he could take pictures of kids eating asparagus. He was incredibly patient with the kids and so giving of his talents. His patience was boundless. Everybody wanted their picture taken.”

Lykes was a freelance photojournalist whose work appeared in the Rappahannock News and Piedmont Virginian magazine. He was involved with civic organizations such as the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community (RAAC), the Rappahannock Historical Society and the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection (RLEP).

Until retiring in 2000, he was an economist and research director for the Manufacturers Alliance. He lived permanently in Rappahannock since that year at a farm near Flint Hill that he had purchased with Buddy Darden in 1992. He also had a house in Georgetown in D.C.

Johnson said Lykes helped “countless non-profits, taking video and photos for them for nothing.”

She said his generosity was because “Rappahannock had been so good to him. He loved Rappahannock County.”

Johnson said that Lykes shot photographs at fundraisers such as the Taste of Rappahannock and at Camp Fantastic, a camp for children with cancer. She said he also photographed the 10th anniversary celebration of Headwaters.

Bill Dietel and his wife, Linda, of Flint Hill, came to know Lykes and Darden.

“My wife and I were struck by how these men found a home for themselves” in Rappahannock, he said. “They felt comfortable and found acceptance. Richard wasn’t a professional photographer. But he studied it and won the confidence of every strata of society and not for profits. He was genuinely interested in them. He became their official photographer and became quite masterful.”

Bill Dietel, who serves on the investment committees of the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation and the Headwaters Foundation, said that Lykes came to an open house several years ago where he learned about the NPCF and then subsequently talked to the foundation about a bequest.

“He restricted it to Rappahannock County. It will be an endowment — a living memorial — and will be responsive to the changing needs of the community,” Dietel explained.

Cheri Woodard is a former of-chair of the Taste of Rappahannock fundraiser and came to know Lykes through that mutual connection.

“He had a droll sense of humor, mischievous, and he was a delight to work with. He really did a lot for the community. He took so many pictures at so many events. He’d send you these fabulous pictures with an e-mail. He was financially generous but generous also with his time and energy.”

Krebser, of Huntly, first met Lykes in 2003. She hosted the new president of Lord Fairfax Community College at an event to introduce him to the community. Lykes came with his camera.

Richard Lykes

“We became fast friends. They were just wonderful (Lykes and Darden). I helped him through Buddy’s death and then his illness that raised its ugly head,” she said.

Both men had talked to Krebser about being executor of their estate.

“They knew pretty much what they wanted to do. He (Lykes) had always loved Rappahannock because Rappahannock had given him so much,” she said. “He wanted to leave a legacy to the county and the schools.”

About James Ivancic 68 Articles
James Ivancic is a reporter for the Fauquier Times in Warrenton, Va. Contact him at jivancic@fauquier.com.