“Take time to smile”: Loved ones remember Kennewick man who inspired a community

KENNEWICK, Wash. — A beloved community member who inspired others through positivity and resiliency, Richard Linderman recently passed away after a harsh case of COVID-19 forced him into the hospital for several weeks.

Linderman was the founder of a Facebook page and group called ‘Incarceration To Inspiration,’ which he used to build an online community of supportive people who empower each other to live life to the fullest. The Kennewick resident reminded everyone to find joy in every moment and “Take Time To Smile” when times get tough.

Even while suffering from this devastating loss, Richard’s wife, Tina Warner, wants to honor her husband and his treasured catchphrase.

“He made a huge impact on the community and was loved so very deeply,” Warner said. “Even up till the time he was put on the vent, he pushed for people to get the vaccine so others wouldn’t suffer. He will be missed dearly.”

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Lynne McKee, a family friend, will miss Richard’s presence in her and her children’s lives.

“Richard was such a bright light and drew so many to him for smiles and encouragement,” McKee said. “He was a rough diamond turned into an amazing jewel. He will be missed, but his legacy will live on.”

KAPP-KVEW’s Ellie Nakamoto-White had a conversation with Linderman via Facebook Messenger while he was attached to a ventilator in the ICU. During their conversation, Linderman said that not getting the COVID-19 vaccine was his “biggest regret.”

“It’s been an emotional roller coaster listening to the doctors tell you there’s a very high chance of you dying from this,” Linderman said in August. “The vaccine would’ve curbed the symptoms, so it’s been a week of regret for not getting the vaccine as I’m now fighting for my life.”

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So close to the end of his journey, Linderman kept his focus on helping others. He wasn’t alone in his contraction of COVID-19 either—his pregnant daughter and several other family members also got sick around this time.

Many people would fold under the severity of his circumstances, but not Richard. The entire time that he fought back against the severe illness, Linderman maintained his composure and focused on helping others.

“It’s humbling and gratifying to know that my story might help save lives and help families not have to go through what my family is going through,” Linderman said. “I cry all day at how much love and support is coming not only from our state but many others. I’m glad I’ve made such a positive impact in the world by trying to create smiles and inspire others. I’m honored and humbled and can’t thank everyone enough for the prayers and kind words.”

If you would like to contribute to the GoFundMe campaign in support of Richard and his family, click here.

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