Richard Wilson Caspari, 36, computer systems analyst, gardener, golfer

April 09, 1999|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

For the past two months, blue and white "Team Caspari" bumper stickers began appearing on cars all over Baltimore.

The bumper stickers honored Richard Wilson Caspari, a computer systems analyst who was stricken with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. They were the brainchild of W. Hugh Bagby Sr. of Stevenson, a longtime family friend who had a thousand of them printed and distributed to Mr. Caspari's friends.

"The idea was to form a prayer team, and every time we saw one of those signs, we'd say a prayer for Dickie," Mr. Bagby said. "We needed a miracle after the doctors said there was nothing more they could do. I guess we thought maybe we'd wear the Lord down."

Mr. Caspari, who had fought the disease for nearly a year, died Tuesday at his Timonium residence. He was 36.

Born in Lakeland, Fla., Mr. Caspari moved to Baltimore as a child. His father, William Caspari III, a naval aviator, was killed in an air crash in 1967. After the marriage of his mother, Betsy LeBrun Caspari, to Samuel S. Merrick Sr., he moved to Lutherville, where he was reared.

In 1981, he graduated from Gilman School, where he wrestled and played lacrosse and football.

After earning a degree in economics from Towson State University in 1986, he joined Automatic Data Processing in Towson as an account executive. Last spring, he started a job as a business systems analyst for Storage USA Inc. in Columbia.

While working, he continued his education at Towson University and became a certified public accountant in 1997.

Despite his illness and chemotherapy treatments, Mr. Caspari continued working until early last month.

In late February, he was presented a recognition award by Storage USA Inc. for a project he was directing for the company.

"He almost did not go to the awards presentation because he joked that it was a pity award," his wife, the former Kimberly Peterson, whom he married in 1993, wrote in a diary.

"His colleagues nominated him because he worked through all of his chemo treatments last year, worked through a lot of sickness and painful moments and rarely, if ever complained. Dick doesn't like to bring attention upon himself and certainly does not like to toot his own horn," she wrote.

"He always maintains that there are people out there who are in worse condition than he," she concluded.

"It was a tremendous achievement. He was one of four selected out of 2,000 employees," said Paul English, a financial system manager for Storage USA Inc.

He described Mr. Caspari as having a "spirit and vitality that was unmatchable."

An active member of Chapel Ridge Community Association, Mr. Caspari was the first to welcome new arrivals, neighbors said.

Ann Townson Thompson, a neighbor in the tightly knit Timonium townhouse community, asked friends and relatives for pictures and reminiscences of Mr. Caspari that she put in a scrapbook and presented to him several weeks ago.

"The reason was we thought it was a way of bringing back memories of all the things we had shared and done together," said Mrs. Thompson. "It was also another way of preserving Dickie's life and friends."

Mr. Caspari was a gardener, golfer and fisherman and was a communicant of St. Stephen Traditional Episcopal Church in Timonium.

"He always said that the most blessed things in life were God, family and friends, and it was important to keep it simple," Mrs. Caspari said.

A funeral Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church, 6428 York Road.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Wilson M. Caspari and John P. Caspari; his parents, Betsy LeBrun Merrick and Samuel S. Merrick Sr. of Lutherville; three brothers, William Caspari IV of Timonium, Charles F. Caspari of Hunt Valley and Samuel S. Merrick Jr. of Baltimore; and an uncle, Henry LeBrun of Glyndon.

Pub Date: 4/09/99

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