Thursday, April 18, 2013


I think about him every day, every time I hear the word, “cancer”. Every day, I am reminded the disease is out there, lurking. Statistics, stories, research, fund-raisers, they swirl grimly. Every day that I'm reminded, sadly, I remember Harry.

I knew him as Harry Schaffer, radio disc jockey and pal. His real name was Nicholas Fostaty, son of Helen and Gerald Fostaty. He was Debra’s husband and Zack’s proud father.

I remember him bringing his baby son to a gathering we were having at the rock radio station where we both worked. We both drove Hyundai Ponys, his was white, mine was blue. He was sick and hopeful.

As I read my newscasts on his shift, we would lob crumpled paper balls at each other!

We got to the field early one September afternoon in 1987. We were there to play softball for the station team. As we were warming up for the game, Harry snapped this picture of me.

He liked taking pictures.

I don’t remember many of our conversations, but every now and then, he would make a point of telling me he liked my radio commentary and why.

April 18th is Harry’s birthday.

On the twentieth anniversary of his death, his family, Deb and Zack, put his picture in the paper. I cut it out.

Last year, his wife and son wrote, “A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam, and for a brief moment its glory and beauty belong to our world. But then it flies on again, and though we wish it could have stayed, we feel lucky to have seen it.”

I never told them how much I enjoyed Harry's company.

He’s been gone for 24 years. He was an easy-going, fun-loving, decent guy; the world is short on those and it misses him.


  1. Dear Richard,
    Every once in a while one comes across an article by accident that we are sure we were meant to read. You and I don't know one another, but we share something; we both know Harry. I knew him as Nick. He was my brother. Thank you for the kind words, they are both heart rending and comforting at the same time.
    I wish you all the best.
    Gerry Fostaty

  2. Thank you Richard,
    I just came across this and I really appreciate your memories of my brother Nick. I am his eldest sister, Lynne F. Murphy. He so loved working in radio and he had such great ideas about computer technology. I often remember his passion for both music and technology. he would have enjoyed this period immensely. Best wishes,