Page 32 - CHSCA Issue 3 2019-2020
P. 32

Art Rich documented generations of student-athletes through photos
 by David Owens
The Hartford Courant Reprinted with permission
Art Rich, a well-known photographer who documented generations of Connecticut high school students, was out to lunch several weeks ago with some friends who had been exposed to coronavirus. His daughter, Angel Rich, said the friends had been tested, but had not yet received the results, and were not quarantining.
But then his friends got the bad news. They were infected. Days later, Rich became ill with COVID-19. He died April 14 at MidState Medical Center in Meriden.
Rich was known through his business, Art Rich Photography of Southington. He took all kinds of photos and taught courses, but was best known for photographing generations of Connecticut students.
The first sign of trouble came when Rich was doing yardwork with his son and developed a cough. He thought it was allergies, but the cough kept getting worse and worse, Angel Rich said.
“Then it went from a cough to a very low-grade fever, then as the week progressed he started to have some aches and pains,” she said. Rich soon did not want to get out of bed.
“And then he didn’t want to eat because things tasted funny,” his daughter said.
On March 19, his family took him to Bradley Memorial Hospital in Southington because his cough continued to get worse and he was refusing to eat.
“He basically couldn’t take a breath because the cough was so horrific,” she said. Rich was then transported to MidState Medical Center. His breathing problems had become more severe and he immediately went on a ventilator.
The doctors and nurses tried everything, including hydroxy- chloroquine and zithromax, but nothing worked. Rich continued to need a ventilator to breathe, and to stay alive.
On Wednesday, it became clear he was in rough shape. And even if recovery was still possible, Rich would never again be the strong, healthy and vital person he was before he fell ill.
“It just came to the point where it was sad to see my dad suffering,” Angel Rich said. “We didn’t have a choice. The doctors told us his way of living, if he did live, would never be the same.”
He was taken off the ventilator and died a short time later.
The family got to say goodbye
over the phone. “We don’t know if he heard us,” Angel Rich said. “We just told him that we loved him and we miss him and not to worry, we will keep his legacy going and take care of mom for him.”
Art Rich had an underlying condition, but it was controlled and he led an active life, his daughter said. Just a few years ago he went skydiving. And he continued to work and ride his Harley Davidson whenever he was able.
“He may have been 73, but he lived like he was 25,” Angel Rich said. “My dad was, overall, a healthy man and this came out of nowhere.”
Rich got his start in photography when he was in the Army, stationed near Niagara Falls, New York. His pastime was photography and his captain saw his work and asked if he would do his unit’s yearbook. He met his wife Jan while in the Army and, after he was discharged, they returned to Southington and he began working to build his photography business.
At first, he did weddings and engagements, and then came the school work. Underclassmen and senior pictures were a big part of the business, and will be again once people get back to school, his daughter said.
Rich’s youngest son, Jason, plans to take over the business. All four of the Rich children worked in the photography business at some point, Angel Rich said.
Rich did get to photograph two of his granddaughters, who are members of the Class of 2020, and to meet his first great-grandson about a week before he died.
  PAGE 32 • CONNECTICUT COACH • ISSUE 3 • 2019-2020

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