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Gossip Queen of Queens

TimesLedger Newspapers

On May 22, TimesLedger Newspapers lost a member of the family. Delores “Dee” Richard, who worked as a photographer and columnist for our newspapers for a decade, died after a brief illness.

Her “Dishing with Dee” column and “Focus on Queens” photo page offered an insider’s view on the political happenings throughout the borough. She attended almost every high-profile dinner and political meeting in the county. She knew every elected official from the borough president and members of Congress to the heads of neighborhood organizations — and they all knew and liked her.

Dee was 86 when she died, but despite her years and personal challenges, including the deaths of her two sons, Dee was never old. With a camera dangling around her neck and her ear to a cellphone, she loved the work she did and it showed. When she came into the newsroom, she was as full of life and as enthusiastic as the youngest reporter.

Her influence stretched beyond Queens into the rest of the city and Nassau County. After the editor of a Nassau newspaper asked Dee to shoot a fund-raiser for him in Great Neck, L.I., he was prepared to introduce her to the public figures at the event.

But as soon as she walked in the door, he realized Dee knew more of the swells in the room than he did as they greeted her.

Since her death, condolences have poured in from all corners. U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley, chairman of the Queens Democratic Party, called her “a fixture in Queens politics” and said her column was a “must-read for all of Queens.”

We were surprised to learn from her husband, Jim Darmos, that during World War II she studied aeronautical illustration and worked for Sikorsky Corp. in Connecticut.

After the war, she enrolled in a photography school, launching a career as a wedding photographer. Along the way she became an honorary state fire chief and even took a course as an auctioneer in Tennessee.

Dee was an amazing woman who lived life to the fullest despite her personal travails. Less than 24 hours before she died, Dee drove to TimesLedger’s offices and asked one of the editors to come downstairs to collect her photos for the week because she felt ill.

She never missed a deadline and her last contributions to the paper would be no different. Dee left a legacy at TimesLedger and in Queens that will never be matched.

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