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Richard Pierson SalleeJuly 24, 1932 ~ January 19, 2019 (age 86)
Richard Pierson Sallee, 86, of Mansfield Center, left this world peacefully at home the morning of January 19, 2019. He was an only child born, July 24, 1932 in Manhattan, to the late Claude Howard Sallee and Jemima Mae Hamilton (Johnston) Sallee. He is predeceased by his parents and half-brothers James Hamilton Sallee and Paul Dewitt Sallee. He is survived by his daughter June Ellyn Sallee-Jackson and her husband Ranny of Howell, NJ; his son Richard P. Sallee II and his wife, Tatyana of Naples, FL; his son Paul Sallee and his wife Tina of Howell, NJ; and his daughter Jennifer Chang and her husband Ed of Old Bridge, NJ. He leaves behind 9 grandchildren, Jessellyn, Ethan, Lucas, and Molly Jackson; Richard P. (III) and Kevin Sallee; Kate and Anna Sallee; and Mason Chang; and two great-grandchildren, Connor and Cora Sallee.
Dick spent most of his young life in Baldwin, Long Island. A 1954 graduate of the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now NYU) earning his Bachelor of Chemical Engineering. Before pursuing his professional career, he spent two years in the U.S. Army stationed in Japan. It was during this time that his access to an Army photographic darkroom allowed him to develop (pun intended) his life-long passion for photography and the visual arts.
Dick was a man of many passions and skills. At age 10, inspired by the famous English magician Cardini, he assiduously began his study of magic. He performed for audiences in many parts of the United States, as well as, Japan, Grenada, and Mexico. In later years, he incorporated his mentalism skills into his performances, astounding audiences and confounding his children with mysterious knowledge of things they thought unknown.
In his teens, Dick became fascinated by opera and began taking vocal lessons and honing his baritone voice. He performed in several opera companies and was a paid soloist for a number of churches and synagogues. He also performed in several amateur theatrical groups in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut doing many lead and character roles.
Dick’s all-consuming passion for photography was a constant throughout his life. His many award-winning photographs can be seen throughout Willimantic and Mansfield Center. His love and philosophy of photography is best said by Dick himself. “Although almost everyone owns a camera and we are surrounded by photographic images on a daily basis, many people don’t realize what goes into the making of consistently good pictures. It is not just the technology, but the mind and training behind that technology. Like the brush to a painter, the camera is only the beginning in an art form that dates from early in the 19th century. In fifty years of creating photographic images, I have concluded that my art, at least, should reflect and create beauty.”
Dick spent the last thirty years of his life living happily with his best friend and companion Rita Braswell.
Public visitation will be held at Potter Funeral Home, Willimantic, CT on Thursday, January 24th, 2019 from 5-7 pm. Interment will be held on Friday, January 25, 2019 at 1:00 p.m, at Greenfield Cemetery, Uniondale, NY.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either The Windham Regional Arts Council or Doctors Without Borders.
For an online memorial guestbook please visit www.potterfuneralhome.com.