ANDOVER – Rick W. McLay, 66, passed away Thursday (Dec. 24, 2020) at Strong Memorial Hospital following a brief illness.
Mr. McLay was born on Sept. 2, 1954 in Schenectady to Henry Kirkpatrick and Virginia (Parr) McLay. He was a 1972 graduate of Cuba Central School and later earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Alfred University. On Sept. 12, 1997, he married Melody A. Hollen, who survives.
Rick retired in 2019 from a 36-year career at Alfred University where he served as Director of Creative Services which allowed him to utilize his talents as a graphic designer, photographer and videographer. He was also an Adjunct Assistant Professor and consummate representative for higher education, which he faithfully served.
In addition to his wife, Melody; Rick is survived by two children, Adrea (David) Brant of Ransomville and Sean (Jasmine) McLay of Livonia; a step-son, Matthew Blank of Andover; two siblings, Cheryl (Tom) Kehoe of Tucson, Ariz. and Ron (Beverly) McLay of McCook Lake, S.D.; two grandchildren, Hanna McLay of Rochester and Seth Russell of Wheatfield; a brother-in-law, Randy Hollen of Andover; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Rick was best known for his love of music and the myriad endeavors which a musician pursues. He was active in UMGF (Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum), sang and played guitar in the Andover Trio, led the instrumental section of the Andover Ecumenical Choir and often accompanied his wife Melody at the Andover Presbyterian Church.
Rick had a lifelong passion for learning. From childhood, he was an amateur naturalist with a fascination for all creatures great and small. Apart from his professional talents he utilized in his career, he was a gifted watercolorist, photographer and illustrator. Rick was an avid history buff, focusing much of his attention to the American Civil War and both World War I and World War II. He also had an amazing gift for remembering trivia. His family often commented that he was a Jeopardy champion in the making. He loved old movies which led to the impromptu family game of “Name That Quote”.
Rick, in his own quiet way was a people person. With his dry sense of humor and an uncanny ability to draw people out, he easily made friends and impacted those around him.
Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, a memorial service will be held in the spring at a date to be determined. Arrangements are under the direction of Baker-Swan Funeral Home and online condolences may be offered at www.baker-swan.com.
Memorial contributions in Rick’s name may be made to the First Presbyterian Church in Andover, 34 East Greenwood St., Andover, NY 14806 and the SPCA Serving Allegany County, PO Box 381, Wellsville, NY 14895. © 2020 Baker-Swan Funeral Home.
Condolences offered previously:
Melody, I am so sorry to learn of Rick’s passing. He was such a kind and humble person, and he always wore a smile. Please accept my deepest condolences. – June Field, 12/30/2020
I am very saddened by the heartbreaking news of Rick’s passing. My condolences to his family and all his friends for their loss. He was a kind and generous person. We worked on ads for the School of Art and Design for many years. He was always willing to design and redesign them and help us meet the invarialbly tight deadlines while accomodating our last-minute requests for changes and tweaks with good humor and understanding. We always looked better that competing schools on the pages of art magazines. – Gerar Edizel, 12/30/2020
Melody, I am so sorry to hear about Rick. He was a good man and a great musician. My thoughts are with you and your family. – Frank E. Di Raimondo, 12/29/2020
I was so sad to hear the news about Rick. My deepest sympathy to his family and close friends. Rick was always extremely pleasant to work with, and I enjoyed some wonderful conversations with with him, especially about music. I’ll always treasure the memory of playing and singing with him and Rob Price one afternoon just before Christmas a couple of years ago. He was a wonderful musician (almost certainly the best I’ve ever played with!) and had so many other interests and enthusiasms as well. A really lovely and admirable person. – Emrys Westacott, 12/28/2020
I was absolutely heartbroken to read of Rick’s death. In my times as a Visiting Artist in the Theatre Department, he was always so helpful and enthusiastic when taking photographs of our productions. Truly the nicest guy, and so talented. My sincere condolences to his family. What a loss. – Eliza Beckwith, 12/28/2020
Paul and I are so sorry to hear of this sudden loss of Rick from the lives of so many friends and family. We both loved working with him, with his unfailing good humor, good spirit, patience, and kindness. His family has our deepest sympathy. – Susan Strong, 12/28/2020
My deepest sympathy to Ricks Family and Close Friends. He was always so nice to work with and knew how to help people feel at ease whilst being photographed. We always enjoyed his visits to the Alfred sculpture foundry to document the metal pours. He will be greatly missed by many. May he Rest In Peace. – Coral Lambert, 12/28/2020
Melody, So, so sorry for your loss. Keeping you and your family in our prayers. Rosalie and Peter DiRaimondo, 12/28/2020
Melody, I am so sorry to hear about Rick and had no idea he had been sick. I’m so sorry for your loss. He was a great person, kind, easy to talk to and so helpful. I’ll keep him and your family in my prayers. Stay strong my friend. – Beth Cartella, 12/28/2020
My deepest condolences to Rick’s family. Simply put, he was one of the kindest, sweetest and most talented people I have ever known. Prayers to the McLay family on this enormous loss. – Paul Vecchio, 12/28/2020
I am so saddened by this. I always enjoyed Rick’ easy manner, great sense of humor, and considerable talent. I know his family will miss him terribly. May healing and fond memories come easily to you all. – Dave Toot, 12/28/2020
Melody, I’m so very sorry for your loss. Rick was such a great person, always willing to help and make suggestions to better any project he was given. I will remember all of the conversations we had when working with him on marketing. I will keep you and your family in my prayers and know that heaven gained an angel who will always be watching over you. Take care, Bonnie Dungan, 12/28/2020
Melody, I am so sorry for your loss. Rick was a good person. We will keep you in our prayers. – Susan Peck, 12/28/2020
I knew Rick from UMGF and DORKF what a great friend and enjoyed the times we shared making music. My Heart goes out to the Family . He made the world a better place Peace my friend and my deepest condolences to the family. – John Hall, 12/28/2020
Dear Melody, while I knew and worked you first, I came to know Rick with all his talents and special appreciation for the creative sides of like. I know you will miss him in ways that can only be imagined. The rest of us will miss him as well. Blessings on you. Rick Stephens, 12/28/2020
I have so many wonderful memories of Rick, from my time as a student at Alfred University, to my work with the Alumni Council and as an Alumni Elected Trustee. Rick was a wonderful man who will be missed by many. My thoughts are with Melody and all of Rick’s family and friends. – Elizabeth Reina, 12/28/2020
Dear Melody, Want you to know that I am thinking of you and your loss. I can’t express enough the admiration and respect for Rick in years of interactions at work. He was always a bright spot, we would invariably have a good laugh at life and foibles around us. All the best and hugs, Mark Klingensmith, 12/28/2020