Neil Kaposy – Tributes
January 6, 2015 1 Comment
The following is an approximate reconstruction of an old Verizon site (circa 2006). Unfortunately, Verizon took it upon themselves to delete customers’ old web sites, so here we are.
Photos can be found here. A music page will be created or linked to in the coming days.
Neil Kaposy – Tributes
Some of Neil’s music can be found at soundclick.com.
It was music that brought us together back in 1974 and played a big part in the relationship that grew from that meeting, but it involved so much more. Neil and I were alike in many ways, yet had opposing views on many topics. We could stand together and view the world from the same eyes yet hold very different opinions. However, when we actually put both “sides” together–we had balance. I have never had a more consistent friend, to laugh with, cry with, and to share my thoughts with. I miss him.
“Ask and you shall receive” does not describe Neil–you didn’t have to ask. I cannot think of another person–friend or family–that stood by me, helped me or loved me, more than Neil. And for what in return? Nothing more than the same love and respect back. There are a couple of our mutual friends that have asked why Neil and I didn’t hook up. Truthfully, I think we just liked where we were at. We didn’t want to ruin a good thing and hell, and it lasted over 30 years. Not every love relationship involves romance. Neil had close relationships with several women, as well as men. I was married to Dennis Myers about 12 years ago. It really makes me happy to say that Dennis and Neil formed a deep and loving relationship themselves.
Neil was stubborn, bull-headed and unreasonable at times, but he was trustworthy, sensitive and faithful too. If you entrusted him with something, you could be darn sure he would protect it. He was slow at times, but he always thought things through and then got things done. He seemed to be on a path to do things for others and often spread himself too thin. With the neuropathy it became harder, but he would “keep on keepin’ on” because “we shall endure.”
I cannot close without saying that Neil was a big part of my entire family. He was Uncle Neil to my 4 children, Celeste, Mike, Scott and Matt, and his passing affected them deeply. Neil gave my son Matthew his first guitar on his 12th birthday–that was 20 years ago (whew!)–and he was there from diapers to weddings to babies. Neil and I shared everything, and I miss his phone calls, emails and the cards that used to show up in the mailbox unexpectedly. He brightened our days and added joy to our lives–not to mention the gossip we shared! I hope his light will shine in me forever.
God Bless and Happy Birthday Neil, Deb Waldon-Myers
Richie Cunningham Dream
(written by Deb Waldon-Myers, February, 2006)
Did you ever hear Neil refer to himself as “the Richie Cunningham” of the group? That actually started when Neil and Lightning were trying to calm a volatile situation with the neighbors. Lightning was the Fonz and Neil was Richie–there’s that balance again! From then on, Neil often referred to himself as Richie Cunningham.
Not too long before Neil died, I was crying, trying to get him to go for another opinion, to break free of Kaiser doctors. I told him that he was supposed to be at our house the first week of June and that I expected he would do all he could to beat the cancer and visit us, like he had every year. Neil promised that he would be in Oregon during June, just as we had planned since his last visit.
Well, Neil died in May, which to me meant that I would put away the gold-panning maps and equipment. It meant that he would not be visiting.
You can believe it or not…maybe it was my mind, but I believe Neil kept his promise.
On June 6th, I had a dream that was more vivid than any I had every experienced. It seemed so real.
I walked into a large theater and the screen was lit up, but there was no picture. I could see someone sitting in the front row, looking up at the screen. All of a sudden that person stood up and turned around. He didn’t look like Neil but I knew that’s who it was. He was very tall with so much hair it looked fake. He started walking up the aisle and I ran down to greet him. I hugged him and started crying, telling him how much I missed him. My head barely came to the middle of his chest. He looked down and simply stated, “It’s OK, I’m the Fonz now.” Then I woke, but I felt good. I felt relieved.
I did phone a few close friends immediately, people who won’t think I’d gone nuts. Actually, they felt some relief themselves when I shared.
(written by Dave Kaposy, 10/16/05)
I have not seen anything added to the web site for awhile and just wanted to include this funny story. At Neil’s funeral I wore a Golden Retriever tie and my two co workers Mike Palos, Joe Torres who also attended the noticed I was wearing it several weeks later at the office. When asked, I mentioned that I was wearing the dog tie in honor of Neil who trained Golden Retrievers for the Seeing Eye Institute. I told Mike and Joe that one day I came over to the house and Neil was working with one of the dogs–probably Fay. Neil indicated that he had to go to the bathroom and was taking the dog with him. When I mentioned why he was taking the dog to the bathroom he said, “Hey the blind also need to the bathroom like everbody else.” Joe and Mike asked, well, how does that work? Mike stated, the dog pushes up against your leg and Joe added that, “once you are centered over the bowl the dog barks indicating fire one.” We all busted up laughing. I did think later that Neil was probably in heaven sounding like Rodney Dangerfield, saying, “No respect, no respect.”
I haven’t had a lot of time to actually sit down and compose a few thoughts about Neil’s passing. But I have thought about it.
First and foremost, I would like to thank my Family for all the things they have done for Neil during the time of his illness. My Dad, who patiently and quietly helped set up several services at the house to accommodate Neil’s special needs. Then of course my Brother David and his wife Lenny who tirelessly made so many trips to the hospital back and forth, especially Lenny who was the sister Neil never had and will never have again. Also the rest of the Kaposy family who gave their support in so many ways.
I want to thank all of Neil’s very special friends who traveled so far to see Neil during the denouement of his life. Terry and Michael, who set up this Web site. All of Neil’s musician friends, Terry, Michael, Clark, Dennis and company who came to Neil’s service and played music afterward for almost 3 hours. That was a magnificent tribute to Neil and a fantastic farewell gesture unequal to none. Caroline and Debbie and Company–and Lisa who sang at the Service. Forgive me if I have left anyone out. I especially want to thank David, my brother who gave a very poignant and humorous Eulogy, and Terry Roland’s fine poetic reading which was moving and heartfelt.
As to Neil, there are so many things to say, I feel like a limb of my soul has been amputated. No one could ask for a better brother and friend. I have no one of His equal to challenge mechanically with a vintage car. So many memories come flooding back to me. Driving cross country in a Volkswagen van, through thunderstorms and National monuments. Playing music together. Neil has often said that it was because of me that he got interested in Music, I think it was the other way around. He was a soundboard and soulmate of the heart. We could talk about anything and found humor together in the strangest subjects. Complete stranger’s would hear our conversations and immediately recommend that we form a comedy team.. We were that good together.
There is a gigantic hyphen in my heart with his passing, and brings the other grieving of my mother and daughter’s Death into sharp, searing focus. I think about Him so much, and just keep that endless music of Neil’s bouncing through my head day and night. For me, Neil is an unfinished song, the unturned last page of a book that you can’t put down. Neil brings to me a kaleidoscope of unfathomable emotions. He was so many things to so many people. That is what made Him so unique and special. He is the essence of never saying no. He is not gone, He is very much with me in everything that I do, and when I go to the Desert, I am looking through His eyes at the quiet and peace of His heart.
Paul S. Kaposy
Due to our age difference of seven years, I wasn’t as close to Neil as my other brother Paul who is two years younger than me. I’m fifty-six, so you will have to do the math.
A perfect example of this occurred when Neil was fourteen and my parents were leaving on a trip during Thanksgiving. I invited Neil to our house for dinner, and my mom called me back telling me that Neil wasn’t coming because he didn’t know us that well. I told my mom, “Hey, I’m his brother, he’s known me all his life.” My mother answered, “Well, that’s Neil, what else can I say?”
I am extremely proud of my brothers accomplishments. He was never a book person and struggled in high school for passing grades. For him to graduate from computer school and to be taking classes in video training at Rio Hondo in his 40’s was incredible. He told me once that the younger students thought we was the instructor and would start asking him questions about the class. My brother was always a hands-on person–he could pretty much fix anything from cars and trucks to computers and electronics.
Neil did have an incredible sense of humor. A few months ago, I asked him what he remembered about his childhood.
I thought he would tell me baseball, mom and apple pie.
Instead it was, “You and Paul beat the crap out of me until I turned eight years old and could fix your bikes–then you guys left me alone.”
Neil was also an inventor. Once when he was around fourteen years old, he showed me in the backyard two small engines. He called it his perpetual motion machine, stating that each engine would run the other back and fourth. That is the theory of how the hybrid engines work, the gas and electric running each other. Neil also had an idea of how to stop tornados, that dry ice would dissipate humidity which generates the tornado. I did ask him how he was going to get the dry ice into the tornado. He explained that it would be shot out of a cannon. When I asked about the homeowners worrying about their homes being flattened by a tornado or dry ice he replied, “details, details, don’t sweat the small stuff.”
When Neil and Paul went to the river with our boat Neil saved Paul’s life. Paul had been choking on a piece of meat and Neil performed the Heimlich technique and ever since then Paul doesn’t eat meat. When I brought up the incident with Neil he acted like it was no big deal. Kicking back at the river, save Paul’s life, load the boat, just very unpretentious.
Neil did have a heart of gold–he always would be helping others, never wanting to be paid for his trouble and never wanting to be owing to anyone. Even when he came home from the final radiation treatment, he was baking cookies and pumpkin bread for his family and friends.
Since my brother and dad lived together these last few years, it was a relationship like the old movie, Grumpier Old Men. I would go over to the house and talk to my Dad in the den. He was always telling me that Neil was “constantly complaining, ornery, and stubborn–he needs a woman.” Then I go into to Neil’s room and he would tell me dad is “constantly complaining ornery, and stubborn–he needs a woman.” I told Neil, say, you know, that sounds familiar.
Even though he was dying, Neil kept his sense of humor. We wanted to know what his last request was, going to the desert–he loved the outdoors. Neil wrote, “I want to chase women.” My Dad asked him how he was going to catch them. Neil replied, “I’m going to use my walker.”
So, in closing, as Catholics we believe that Neil has not died, just changed lives. An old Irish saying is, Neil may your soul be in heaven a half hour before the devil knew you were gone. Neil is in heaven right now fixing things for Saint Peter.
And finally, my favorite Neilism was, “Things that make you want to say mmmm.” Altogether–“Things that make you want to say mmmm.”
Thank you and God Bless
Friday, May 27, 2005
Letter to Neil
(written by Sandy Kubicki/Kaposy)
It’s been a week since Neil’s funeral and I finally think I can put two words together without crying (too much).
Neil was a kind, special man and influenced my life in ways that I just can’t express. How do you say goodbye to someone who really deserved to find happiness in his life? He never got angry with me and there was plenty to get angry about. I couldn’t understand that about him. He did get angry with inanimate objects, though–especially mechanical. He was always so supportive and just wanted things to go the easiest way possible. Eight-and-a-half years of therapy later, I realized how screwed up we were. He said he’d get into AA, but I wasn’t sure if he did.
We kept in touch throughout the years–visited each other and shared new events such as new marriages, family events and the paths we took. He always remembered my birthday, either calling or with email. We supported each other on our accomplishments and our failures. The “we shall endure” comes to mind.
HIS LAST DAYS AS I REMEMBERED THEM:
4/16/05 I received a simple email: “Happy Birthday. –Neil”. I responded with the usual thanks, how are you…not so great Bday, paid taxes, etc. (My response seems pretty pathetic at this point.)
4/18/05 His response: “Well my old friend, I have some bad news. I have cancer in my throat. I went through radiation treatment – 35 in all. I found out it’s back and I’m going for a second opinion with the City of Hope. But we shall endure. –Neil.”
I expressed my shock and asked when he was going and if I could call him when he found out, etc.
5/5/05 I didn’t get another response until I heard from Lenny. She broke the news to me that Neil was in a nursing home now, needing full-time care after his throat swelled up with more tumors, causing difficulty in breathing, and had gone from 180 to about only 100 pounds in the past six weeks. He also needed suction (with a tube through his trach) four times a day to keep his lungs free from phlem in order to breath and could only write short notes when his pain meds would allow him to. My god–it hit me! He was in the fourth stage of his cancer and dying! This was a man I loved and was married to for seven years! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He just said he was going for a second opinion I thought! After Lenny’s call, I could do nothing but cry and go in and out of shock.
5/7/05 That Saturday, I went to see him for the first time–eight days before he died. I’m glad that Lenny prepared me. I remember walking down the halls of the nursing home and feeling my heart pound almost through my chest. I found his room and had to take a few breaths before I went in. If it wasn’t for his mustache, I wouldn’t have recognized him. I just stood by his bed, frozen. He opened his eyes periodically and his legs were twitching. It was as though he was fighting something–possibly the cancer. I finally got the courage to say Hi to him and take his hand. His eyes looked at me in shock as though he was scared and didn’t recognize me. All I could think of is that this man did not deserve this! I tried to softly talk to him, but I don’t know if he heard me. Some time later, his oldest brother came in and recognized me. All I could do was say that he didn’t tell me and started crying again.
5/8/05 I returned the next day, still feeling heavy in my heart and still in disbelief of everything. Terry and Michael were visiting him and Neil had his glasses on. He seemed to be responding to them with periodic nods. I introduced myself and was met with warm hugs and support as I again couldn’t hold back the tears. Neil was more lucid and responsive, acknowledging my presence and questions. He was able to write a short question with difficulty and seemed to struggle with trying to write more. I told him that I wished he could have told me sooner so I could help and wanted him to remember all the good memories, people and family he had in his life. He seemed to understand. Then came his ‘”wink”–the one I always remembered. He seemed tired and I said I’d leave to let him sleep. He gave me the “thumb up.” This was a good visit.
Lenny and I kept in touch since I couldn’t return during the work week, but he was feeling “much better” and wanted to come home. Lenny was going to try and get some home help. My heart felt a tentative sense of relief. My thoughts were running all over the place from “maybe he’ll get better”…to…”I’m not sure that he would have the strength to go home and his improvement may be temporary.”
5/14/05 I just kept positive as Lenny and I talked about pictures of Neil, the family and meeting at the nursing home Saturday (day before he died). We met there after Lenny had called and told me, he’s worse–arms & legs twitching and his eyes opening periodically, looking up at the ceiling. He seemed incoherent, and only minimally responded to voices.
Paul came also, as did Terry. Terry brought Neil’s CD and played guitar for Neil. I think that even as Neil had difficulty remaining focused and was, in general “out of it,” he could hear the music–his first love. I sang the part I used to when we were together and I remember him looking at me and squeezing my hand. We all left after the music ended as he seemed tired and we wanted to let him rest. I left feeling that he simply didn’t have much strength left, and could sense that it was close. Paul and I talked for awhile outside about things that happened since I left…Neil never told the family that we kept in touch. We all planned to return Sunday at noon to play some more music for Neil with Terry and Michael, who were going to bring equipment. It was supposed to be a good visit. As I left, I had a deep sense of dread.
5/15/05 I received a call on Sunday morning at about 9:45. It was Paul. “It’s over. I’m here with Dad–we didn’t make it.” I remember sobbing and offered to call Michael and Terry so they didn’t bring the equipment. It was hard to say the words. “Neil’s gone–it’s over. At least he isn’t in pain any more….”
A NOTE TO NEIL:
Please forgive me, Neil, and remember the good times–I know I will. I’m not sure who started the sayings, “things happen to people for a reason,” and “maybe it was meant to be.” My anger and sorrow won’t let me go there yet and I’m not sure if it will happen. The researcher in me wanted to know why and could I have done anything to help, had I known sooner. I guess I’ll never know.
Anyway, Neil, I hope you can see that you have touched so many people in many different ways. You were always so supportive and continued to push others forward including me–always. You were more comfortable in the background. You truly were loved and will be missed. You definitely won’t be forgotten. I hope you now have peace and you’re making music with Ken [webmaster’s note: “Ken” is Ken Roland]. Just don’t forget to throw a tennis ball now and then for Lady, Casey and Champ. We’ll see each other again.
P.S. I just remembered a couple more “Neilisms”: “What ever trips your trigger,” and of course, “Here’s a kiss for _____________ (current President – like Reagan).” The “kiss,” of course, was followed by a fart.
He hardly ever smiled but his kindness was always just a breath away.
He played 12-string guitar like there was fire in his fingers that could only be cooled by the touch of the strings.
He sang with soul and insight about the human journey, dusty mirrors, a lady on the prarie the sea, the barstool, breezin’ and meetings down the line.
He loved dogs, cats and children.
His meditation was his gardening. Inner peace he called it.
He was true friend. He didn’t have to say much He just looked at me and said, “Been there, done that,” And “you know where I am if you need to talk.” And then perhaps he would sigh and say “What’s a mother to do?” When I asked about a recording session he would be there setting up microphones, cables in hand, pushing buttons, turning knobs and supporting my own efforts without a word about his own. If I told him about a live show he would be there without question. He never asked for thanks. He helped for the joy of helping. Friend Neil was a rare soul who knew the value of creativity and put it in motion wherever he went. His presence soothed me because he knew what this crazy world is like. We had traveled the same road. Even while he was dying, he baked and brought his friends cookies and cakes. How can I say goodbye to such a friend? I just don’t know. I can’t say. I can say, “See you down the line.” I can say I will remember you. I can say I love you Neil and I only let you go with the deepest kind of reluctance. We all will miss you so very much.
Love, your friend, tr
Hi Everybody…..It seems that each minute is a gift. Michael Tracy, Mariko (my daughter), and I saw Neil for an hour or so on Sunday afternoon. He was in good spirits. He was comfortable and his pain was lower than before.
Michael, Neil and I have spent long hours in the studio making our own and other’s music. During that time we morphed into a cosmic Three Stooges of sorts. I don’t know who was who in terms of characters. Maybe we were all Moe. Nothing changed during our visit. We laughed, Neil smiled and rolled his eyes. I kept encouraging him to give Michael the finger, but he wouldn’t do it. I told him how Saturday night in Monrovia at an arts fair I met some Celtic street musicans named, The Rainmakers, who I hit it off with right away. They play acoustic fiddles, mandos, banjos and guitars. I invited them to record in trade for playing on other projects. They were happy to comply. The reason I mention this is because Neil has always been so good at making these kinds of connections. He gave that the thumbs up.
He became alarmed and almost jumped out of the bed when I told him I had a new girlfriend. He shook his head, gave me a real concerned look and wrote to Michael to make me run the other direction, fast. I don’t have a good track record and Nei has been with me every step of the way. This is his nature. Concern for others. I don’t want to make him a saint. He certainly has not been. But that basic ability to be there and help others has always been something I’ve admired and also taken for granted.
We played music on a portable CD player. We listened to the new John Prine CD. Mariko stared out through curious eyes. She’s known Neil all of her life. I do believe that he was happy during the visit.
As we said our goodbyes, I took his hand and he grabbed hard. We all told him that we loved him. I knelt beside him and told him he was not alone. Then, I kissed his forehead and told him that I knew that do that would be impossible if he were well. Then we left.
One editorial note: I believe that live or die, for Neil and maybe for us all, continuity is a theme here. I believe that Neil needs to see continuity and by that I mean the continuation of life and the lasting effects of the work, friendship and devotion he’s shown to us all. It’s like his garden. His planted and cared for all of these seeds that have grown into plants with great flowers. From a gardeners perspective (and Neil is a fine gardener), it is important that he know that the flowers are in full bloom.
love & mercy, Terry Roland
Neil Kaposy is one of those guys who seems to have always been around.
When you need somebody to lend a hand, he is usually the first one at your door. When somebody needs to go the extra mile to get a project done or independent music produced Neil is there.
The secret about Neil is that he is a talented 12-string guitar player and a fine writer of songs.
During the 20 plus years that I have known Neil, he has always been a man for others. Now, it’s time for him, as a truly unsung hero to have a moment to shine. Thus some friends have come together to put together a website dedicated to Neil’s music. During the past few years he has been so busy producing and engineering songs, videos and CD’s for friends that he has had little time to make his own music.
We will be adding new tracks and songs as this website makes progress. We pray that this website will help to give Neil, his family and friends the strength to face the days and years ahead.
Neil has recently been diagnosed with cancer. This website is being constructed as a tribute to Neil with the sincere hope that he will be with us for many years to come. It’s also here to say thank you, Neil, for all of your devotion, friendship and love.
love & mercy, tr
“Gruff exterior with a heart of gold”
(written by Michael Patrick Tracy, 4/24/05)
“Gruff exterior with a heart of gold” is a stock character in television, novels and suchlike–typically the type of guy who isn’t likely to fool anybody with his cynical veneer. If anything, the obvious protective coloring/covering that his exterior represents makes him seem that much more vulnerable, and makes his generosity and big-heartedness seem all the more poignant.
Well, our friend Neil Kaposy is one of those guys who fits the description, “gruff exterior with a heart of gold.”
With guys like these, sometimes it’s easy to get caught up with the exterior and overlook the heart, just as it’s easy to get caught up in any number of superficial attributes that people often possess. But with a guy like Neil, you’d have to be paying absolutely no attention whatsoever to miss the fact that here is a stand-up guy: generous to a fault, ready and willing to be of assistance and lend a hand, always.
Sometimes I wasn’t paying attention. Sometimes, to be perfectly honest, Neil had a way of getting under my skin with such strength and rapidity that it took my breath away. I guess that’s what they mean when they say that guys fought like brothers. Not having had siblings, I guess I won’t know how similar my experience with Neil was to that–but I imagine there’s a lot of truth in the comparison.
One of Neil’s great gifts to others, particularly to those who worked with him at Rolandwave Studio #9 in La Verne, was what we refer to as “Neilisms,” some of which ended inspiring songwriting on my part. I’m sure Neil wasn’t the first person to say, “what the ****, Chuck,” but as far as I was concerned, when I stole that line and fashioned a song around it, he may as well have been. Same thing with the immortal and pithy line expressing his lack of interest in San Francisco-style erotica, “I don’t like things up my butt.” At some point we’ll come up with as many Neilisms as we can, and list them here on this site, but for now those two will have to suffice.
Neil wasn’t just a member of the Midnight Rounders, he was the technical core, keeping the board running, doing maintenance that others didn’t have the time or inclination to do, frequently performing engineering duties, and innumerable other tasks that bands and studios live and die on. Most importantly he was always there, literally as well as figuratively, lending continuity to what was sometimes a logistically challenging endeavor.
Neil is dying. No, he hasn’t given up, but he is dying. The one great mercy in the fact that we know that he is dying is that we have the opportunity to tell him how much he means to us, how much we value him, and most of all, how very, very much we will miss him.
So I’ll tell you, Neil. I love you. You will be greatly, profoundly missed.
(thanks to Deb Myers for most of these)
“I don’t mind dying. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”
“I don’t have the cranial space.”
“Torn between two rubbers.”
“I don’t like things up my butt.”
“What the ****, Chuck?”
“Whatever floats your boat.”
“Whatever cranks your chain.”
“Happy as a queer in a hot dog factory.”
“Just gotta keep on keepin’ on.”
“Aye, Snotty, beam me up.”
“Aye, Snotty, put the weanie up the warp drive.”
“Off like a herd of turtles”–and sometimes, “Off like a turd of hurtles.”
“What have you been smokin’?”
“Have you been sniffin’ glue?”
“He’s got a personality like a doorknob.”
“That boy ain’t right.”
“Dumber than a bag of rocks.”
“We shall endure.”
Neil, where’s the monitor?
3/7/56 – 5/15/05