The Missouri Western family received some unfortunate news on Tuesday, March 25.
As staff opened their email, they read that Western employee Frederick (Rick) Dyson, 56, had passed away that morning. Dyson worked as an information services librarian at Western since January 2005.
Julia Schneider, library director, had worked with Dyson for over nine years.
Schneider said that he really cared about the people around him.
“He was really a champion for students,” she said. “Students here in general, but also the students who work in the library. He looked out for them.”
James Mulder, another information services librarian, said that Dyson will be greatly missed.
“He was our local expert on many of the newer technologies like Web 2.0. When I had problems relating to the technology, he would be the first person I would turn to,” Mulder said.
Schneider said that Dyson was also instrumental in obtaining and formatting the LibGuides software for students. The LibGuides software hosts assorted guides to assist students as they research.
Dyson was also very involved in the Big Brothers organization. He was an avid baseball fan, and enjoyed mission trips to Mexico.
Schneider also said that Dyson didn’t just care for students – he showed it. She remembered times when he would even give money to students when in need.
“Quietly, of course, so not many people knew that he did that. But I knew,” she said.
Also, Dyson would take money to the Java City barista and pay for the next few students’ coffee and snacks as an anonymous random act of kindness.
Mulder said that Dyson enjoyed getting to know Western students and listened to their concerns.
“He set up the Book-a-Librarian program through which students can schedule individual consultation sessions with librarians,” he said.
Schneider said that though there are no set memorial plans, the library staff will probably find some way to honor his memory in the Hearnes Center.
As of now, there is a small tribute to Dyson on the first floor of Hearnes.
“We’re going to miss Rick – his humor, his helpfulness. He was a good team player. It’s a real void to look over there and not see him,” Schneider said.Dyson is survived by his wife, Deb. A memorial service was held on Saturday, March 29 at the Parkway Christian Fellowship Church in St. Joseph.