Richard Simonelli


Richard E Simonelli
18 May 1939 - 26 Jul 2021
Boots in Squares
Finest City Squares
Foggy City Dancers
Midnight Squares
Tinseltown Squares
Western Star Dancers

Received 10 Year Medallion at Wheel & Deal in 1997
Received 20 Year Medallion at Palm Springs Swing & Mix 2017 in 2017

Rich was stoic about all the cancer treatments and decided enough was enough. He was a very kind, quiet, and private person--I had known him since the early 90s when he danced with Tinseltown Dancers in LA. He was one of our regular dancers here in the desert for our Advanced and Challenge programs, and even danced on June 5 for the full two hours.

He had suffered a serious heart attack some 20 years ago, but gradually recovered from that. Finding out he had stage 4 cancer was just terrible. He looked many years younger than his 82 years. He was always concerned that his dancing skills were diminishing with age, but I certainly couldn't tell.
Bill Eyler[1]


I have warm memories of Richard, who was always fun to dance with. I remember dancing with him at the San Diego Convention in 2003, where we decided to try the C-1 brushup workshop, both of us being pretty rusty--but after the first tip, we fled in terror. It sounds like Richard, unlike myself, eventually worked up the courage to dive back in.
Russ King

More sad news. Richard Simonelli passed away after a very long and quiet struggle against cancer. He last danced with us at our June 5 Advanced workshop, but wasn't feeling well enough for the C1 workshop the next day. He will very much be missed; I've known him over 30 years as a dancer and a friend.
Bill Eyler

I first danced with him in 1988 at a Western Stars dance. He will be missed.
Del Powell

Sorry to read of his passing. I remember him from many conventions and A&Cs.
JW Paulson

Richard danced on the FC team back in the early days. He was always fun to dance with and I'm sorry to hear that he is no longer with us.
Steve Browning

I am so sorry to hear. He was such a gentle soul. He will be missed.
Mike Neiheisel

Very nice fellow. Started dancing with Western Star Dancers many years ago and was always active in club activities. Sorry to hear he passed.
Tom Tripp

😢 sad news indeed. He was such a nice man.
Susan Siegfried

Omg Neil and I would always get together with Richard when we had a place on Palm Springs. A kind person, a wonderful dancer, we will miss him.
Matt Messner

I will never forget how masterfully he drove the giant petticoat to its prime parking space on Castro. We said it was too tight and could not be done. Piece of cake for Richard. RIP!
Anna Damiani

Yellowrocks. He was sweet, just thinking of him yesterday.
James Ozanich

We liked Richard. Danced with him at Tinseltown and visited him many times when we were in Palm Springs. Very sorry to hear of his passing.
Chris Clarke

He'd come up to Portland from Palm Springs in the Summer to check on property he owned here - always wearing thermal underwear 'cause it was too cold in Portland.
Rick Hawes

We knew he had heart issues 20 years ago. Didn't know about the cancer. Such a nice guy. He will be missed.
Joni Micals

oh no... I've also known him for more than 30 years through dancing and calling. Richard was one of my very FIRST supporters as I got up to call singing calls at one of my very first conventions, maybe even the 1990 convention. I remember him well. He was always helpful and kind, supportive, enthusiastic. May he RIP, and Bill, hugs to all of you who saw him recently.
Ett McAtee

Very sad. I remember him working at a certain hotel in Palm Springs... a kind man, he will be missed.
John Faulds



  1. Email, 19 Aug 2021