We are sad to inform you that long-time SNAP and Link-up member, friend, and advocate, RICK SPRINGER, passed away on Saturday, November 15, 2014.
A memorial service was held on Monday, November 17 at 7:00 pm at the Law Office of Kerns Frost and Pearlman at 30 W Monroe, Suite 1600.
Rick touched the lives of so many of us and provided steadfast encouragement, patience and a quick smile at every opportunity. Rick was dedicated to exposing truth and protecting other children. He was a brave survivor who started speaking out in the early 1990s. For over twenty years Rick spoke truth to power and was a true friend. We will sorely miss him.
If you want to share a memory (or photo) of how Rick helped or challenged you we would like to post it on the SNAP website in tribute to Rick.
Please send to [email protected] and put Rick’s name in the subject line.
If you knew Rick we wish you consolation. If you did not have the pleasure of knowing Rick please read the tributes to Rick as we post them below to find inspiration and hope.
Rick Springer’s last act of activism. Many of you knew Rick Springer, whose funeral was today. Rick was one of the kindest, most generous, and indefatigable survivors I have ever known. He was noble. And he was honorable. His occupation was a Chicago cab driver and, because of that, he could always be counted on to rocket you the quickest distance between two points for a hastily assembled press event or survivor emergency. Google Maps was never able to displace Rick’s accumulated wisdom of the real Chicago map, where real people live and struggle. He could easily have been one of those voices you find in Studs Turkel’s Working. Rick kind a looked like Turkel, which means he had a face that earned its character and abrupt dignity. That's Rick, pictured below, on the far right. He’s holding a sign, of course, as he often did. You could always feel his steady strength if you were at the microphone. In my experience, it simply doesn’t matter how many hundreds of times you’ve done it, when you’re a survivor at the microphone it’s always somehow the first time you’ve ever spoken words. And what really holds you up and lifts you over the barriers of resistance, terror and anxiety are your fellow survivors behind you. Rick was virtually always back there, holding you up, even if he had to drag his oxygen tank with him to do it. You will also notice that on the sign he is holding is the phone number for a survivor to reach out and get help. And I can guarantee you that someone saw that sign on the news that day and made that call. Dying as he lived, in his final days, literally from his hospital bed, Rick was pressing for the truth about his case from the Archdiocese of Chicago, which finally relented and he was able to see the file of his abuser, something he had been trying to obtain for years. That it took a request from a deathbed and the constant insistence and advocacy of others as his death neared to finally achieve this simple request, which every survivor has a right to, is truly inexcusable. I can't speak of Rick's case specifically because I have not seen the file, but once you sexually assault a child in the course of your ministerial and professional duties it's obviously no longer a "personnel file," it's criminal evidence, and especially if your superiors are notated and implicated in the file busily covering up the crime; you must certainly, as a victim, have a right to see it. Decades ago, Rick bravely chose to speak his truth, becoming one of the very first activists fighting for the safety of children in the church. And children are safer because of Rick and his witness. How many of us will leave this earth and be able to say that? That is why it is impossible for me today to imagine our struggle and solidarity without him standing there, as always, besides us, on either the left or the right. Read story here. --Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director
May he rest in peace; he has earned his reward. --Wilmington, DE
Even if I never met him, it is sad to see a guy that fights for justice leave, feels like we lost another righteous warrior. --Buenos Aires, Argentina
We must be together; connect our thoughts together and be against Vatican clerk abuse. Truth about our harm is our victory. I'm always with you. --Lublin, Poland EU
Truly sorry for our loss. Didn’t know him personally, but my prayers go up for his family and all the members of SNAP in this time of mourning. --Kansas City, MO
I think I met him several years ago @ a SNAP annual convention in Chicago. Great guy. --New Orleans, Louisiana
All who fight the good fight remain survivors in our hearts, no matter where they are. --Los Angeles, CA
Ricks vast knowledge of people, names, and happenings was always the meat of any meeting. He was the inspiration to many to grow in searching for transparency and accountability. Each time that we had the feeling that we were now knowledgeable about a news release or event Rick always imparted new intelligence on the information. This would cause us to research more information. We were fortunate to have known Rick. He was and will always be a treasured part of our lives. --Palatine, IL
Thank you for us all being one in our mission to end sexual child abuse. It was the selfless and brave public conversations by Rick Springer and so many more caring loving people who spoke regarding their experiences that inspired me to talk publicly about a rabbi and his friend who violated me when I was 12 years young. --Baltimore, MD
He will never be forgotten and always remembered with the fondest of wishes for his family and of us who were his friends. xxoo --Victoria, BC, Canada
Know that I hold him and all of you dear friends in prayer as you journey through this great loss. He sounded like a real advocate for SNAP and you all work so very hard to bring justice to our world. --Trenton, MI
Rick and SNAP stood up for me when I couldn't do it myself. --Chicago, IL
I DO remember Rick so clearly. He was an amazing advocate. I remember working with him on one of the statute of limitations bills – I think SB 1035. He taught me so much about lifelong effects of trauma. I distinctly remember standing outside of the Illinois house with him as he spoke to burly male legislator. I remember the legislator questioning him – “But why didn’t you tell someone?” Rick patiently explained the countless reasons that it is hard even impossible for children to disclose the abuse they are experiencing. I’m so sorry that the survivor advocacy community has lost a wonderful friend and ally. --Concord, NH
I am sorry for the loss of someone so special and important for all of you. My sincere condolences to his family. --Madrid, Spain
Eternal rest grant unto Rick and may perpetual light shine upon him. Amen. Thanks for the mail, I will say office of the dead for him as soon as I get home. May he continue to enjoy eternal bliss in the bosom of our Lord. He has fought the good fight...Rest in peace Rick. --Nigeria
I just wish we had a lot more like him. --Chicago, IL
So sorry to learn the sad news of Rick's passing. My God Bless his soul and keep it in His loving care. -Philadelphia, PA
I'm so sorry to hear that, and I would be at the memorial service were I not in Atlanta, teaching a course on Augustine. Strength and consolation to you all. --Atlanta, GA
Tears are in my eyes. I loved Rick. He was a special mentor. I sent in my excerpt from my memoir. I talked to him about it, and was going to send him a copy. It was only released in early Oct. I am so sad as I know he would have appreciated it. The reviews have been very-very positive I am now going to mentally share them with his spirit. --USA
Rick was a lion of a man. He was a founding father of the survivor movement. He was a hero of mine. I wish I could be half the man he was. --Tucson, AZ
e was a brave survivor who worked endlessly to help others. --Chicago, IL