Emanuel Rappaport - Los Angeles office 1976-1984
I just received some sad news. Karen Cayley wrote me today to let us all know that Manny Rappaport has died. "He suffered from numerous pulmonary problems for the last few years," writes Karen, "and his body finally couldn't keep up with his sharp mind and kind heart any longer. His family was with him in his last days, and he died peacefully on August 21, 2013 at the age of 82. He and his wonderful wife, Gloria, would have celebrated their 55th anniversary this week!
Chuck Phillips once contributed this memory of Manny:
Manny was a very inventive researcher in the early days of Chiat/Day. When we were pitching Chuck E. Cheese in the late 70's,he sat on their conference room floor to illustrate how their customers (kids) view the world. Says Chuck, "It certainly caught me by surprise. They thought he was wonderful and he was."
Karen also shared with me a beautiful eulogy that she posted on Facebook and that I share with you here:
EMMANUEL RAPPAPORT 1931-2013
(Eulogy by Karen Vogel Cayley)
Tomorrow I will be standing on the lawn of a big cemetery in San Diego, saying goodbye to the one man in my life who never asked anything of me ... except that I live up to what he truly believed was my incredible potential.
(Wow, i just wrote one run-on sentence, and the tears are starting to pour already.)
Manny was not a father figure to me, I already had a pretty great dad. Manny was more like Santa Claus. (Only Jewish -- haha). Every piece of advice or encouragement he gave me (and there were many years full of them) was an unexpected gift. And just like the Energizer bunny, he just kept going and going, and giving and giving. That was who Manny was -- the ultimate giver.
But he certainly wasn't a saint. He had lots of pent-up anger about all the injustice he found in the world, and especially in the business world. He could spot insincerity in a person like I can spot a typo in an encyclopedia. And on the other hand, he could zero in on whatever was good in someone just the same way. He was amazing.
Manny Rappaport changed my life, back when I was in my twenties at Chiat/Day. Then I moved around the country and we lost touch. But we reconnected about five years ago, and he and Gloria came all the way to Agua Dulce (where I live now) as a side-trip during one of their last vacations together. We had a great conversation over lunch, and they came to see my home that we rebuilt after the wildfires of 2007.
Both Manny and Gloria noticed the little cactus and succulent garden that I planted outside the bedroom door. I worked hard on that small space, because I wanted something pretty to look at when I got up in the morning. And God knows, just about everything I planted in that desert either wilted in the heat, froze in the snow, or more often was gobbled up underground by gophers or above-ground by rabbits. So I bought wrought iron fencing to surround it, reinforced by chicken wire and gopher-proof lining. Stuck a fountain in the middle and was quite proud of the result, modest as it was.
Well, I was out watering the night after Gloria called me last week to tell me that Manny was in hospice. And then it hit me. That garden is the only part of our landscaping -- besides the trees -- that has actually thrived. So now we are putting in a plaque, dedicating it to the love between Manny and Gloria. I always said that they twinkled like a cartoon when they were together, and now I'll remember that every time I get up in the morning and go outside to have my coffee.
Gloria, you are one lucky woman to have shared your life with this man. And Manny would kick my ass if I didn't also say that he was even luckier to have had you for all those wonderful years.
And now I just have to say THANK YOU to the powers of destiny for my fortunate timing. I will be forever grateful for the experience of learning from, and loving these people. Manny, you have always been the angel on my shoulder -- with your pitchfork pointed at my head! You will be there forever. I love you.
August 26, 2013
Manny in the Sky, with Diamonds
Today we buried the body of a man who had more life in him than all of us put together. The important thing about this, which I discovered on the way home, was that we only said goodbye to his body. His life force, his personality, his silliness, his intelligence, his kindness -- none of this is gone. I heard it in the words of his sons, and his grandchildren. I saw it in his brother's intense eyes. And I felt it in the warm embrace of his wife, his earthly soul mate.
Later, when I was driving home through the desert, I saw him in the sky. His colors, his brightness, he was a big rainbow to the south of me, and an incredible sunset to the west. He filled up the sky, just like he filled up the earth when he was here. And I pulled off to the side of that desert road and cried …. Grief and hope and gratitude welled up and finally spilled. Because we have lost the part of him that comforted and entertained us while he was here -- but his impact was so strong, so personal -- that what he left inside us will never, ever be gone.