Writer, photographer and former ICWA fellow Dick Balzer died of cancer on December 3, 2017 at his home in Brookline, Massachusetts. During his fellowship in 1972-1975, he wrote about blue collar workers in the United States, tracking the effects of social and economic changes on the lower-middle class.
A man of extraordinarily varied interests, his books reflect a wide breadth of expertise. Street Time is a portrait of New Haven’s Hill neighborhood, China: Day by Day features photographs from a 1972 trip, Next Door, Down the Road, Around the Corner: A Family Album is a sketch of all 50 states. In Clockwork: Life In and Outside an American Factory, he describes his months spent at Western Electric in Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts, and Peepshows: A Visual History documents the optical toys that predated modern cinema, which he collected.
Dick grew up in the Long Island town of Great Neck, NY and attended Cornell University and Yale law school. He worked as an independent executive coach and was a senior fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School.
His Boston Globe obituary describes Dick as someone who “wasted no time in a life that found him shooting photos in urban neighborhoods of New Haven at one point and creating presentations for the Harvard Art Museums at another.”
“He frequently urged all of his friends to express their feelings and their love for each other,” his friend Larry Lucchino told the Globe. (Lucchino is part-owner of the Red Sox and the baseball team’s former president. Dick was a loyal Red Sox fan; a memorial service was held at Fenway Park in December.)
“He was way ahead of all of us in terms of being in touch with his feelings and paying attention to human connection and love in this life.”