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By BERNIE BELLAN
When Richard Tapper passed away three years ago at the young age of 35, he left a void, not just in the Winnipeg Jewish community, but the entire community, that can likely never be filled.

 

 

 

 

 


In his short life, Tapper touched the lives of so many. I, myself, didn’t know Richard well, but in looking back at articles that mentioned him in past issues of The Jewish Post & News, I can see that he was one of those rare individuals who combined energy, intelligence, and a dedication to serve the community, with a tremendous professional skill as a chiropractor. (Interestingly, one of the first articles to mention Richard was written by well-known actor and filmmaker Jonas Chernick, who covered the floor hockey beat for us circa 1995. Harvey Rosen also wrote about Richard’s prowess on the basketball court.)

 

 

 

Those first articles that mention Richard have to do with his student years at Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate, when he was a star basketball player with the team, the Raiders (wearing number 00), as well as a very talented floor hockey player at the old Y.M.H.A.
In addition, Richard was an important member of the Camp Massad staff – under the then-direction of Jason Marantz (who is the subject of two other articles in this issue). Later, as a conscientious chiropractor – as well as a successful businessman, Richard endeared himself to his patients. As noted in his obituary, “He loved being a Chiropractor, and he loved educating family, friends, and patients about health and wellness. At the end of every adjustment, Richard would send his patients off with his inspiring words, ‘the power is on’.”
In 2012 Richard became the youngest-ever individual to sign the Jewish Foundation’s Book of Life. It was at that event that I had the opportunity to spend some time talking with Richard about what had led him to make a commitment of that sort at such a young age and I, too, was inspired by his idealism.
Who would have thought then that, just three months later, Richard would be diagnosed with terminal cancer and, only four and a half months later, would be gone from us?



The tributes to Richard Tapper have flown in ever since his tragic death and on March 22, Camp Massad fashioned a most original way of commemorating Richard’s memory. The occasion was the first-ever “Richard Tapper Memorial Floor Hockey Tournament”, in which over 100 men of varying ages participated, both in Winnipeg and Toronto (where a tournament was held at exactly the same time to coincide with the Winnipeg one).
As Danial Sprintz, Executive Director of Camp Massad, noted in his introductory remarks to the players before the tournament began: “Richard put his heart and soul into everything he did. He would come out to the camp every summer and help out. He eventually created a program called “machshirah” – it helps the camp staff become better leaders.”
The money raised by the floor hockey tournament, Sprintz explained, would go towards building a cabin to be called “Mercaz Tapper”.
Sprintz went on to say that “Richard was a big philanthropist in the community. It’s nice to see that over 200 people gave money to this campaign in order to raise money to build the cabin with Richard’s name on it.”
Sprintz concluded by inviting everyone to come out to Camp Massad on June 28 when “Mercaz Tapper” will be officially dedicated.

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