Brian Rich, Sun-Times visual journalist with a love for life and his newborn daughter

Rich had just embarked on a new chapter in life in September, when his daughter, Edith Mae, was born.

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Sun-Times visual journalist Brian Rich

Sun-Times visual journalist Brian Rich

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Being a dad came naturally to Sun-Times visual journalist Brian Rich.

When his daughter, Edith Mae, was born in September, she became his world.

“I had a very difficult delivery and recovery, so he basically had her to himself for the first four hours of her life,” Mr. Rich’s wife, Emily Rich said. “And when I woke up, I saw them over in their little love bubble in the corner of the hospital room, and he fell in love with her instantly.”

The nerves he felt about fatherhood melted away. 

“He had his own way of knowing what she needed. Her happiest place, or the place that would always calm her and comfort her, was being on his chest, and he just handled new parenthood with a lot of patience and strength, and he not only took care of her, but also took care of me,” Emily said.

Mr. Rich, 40, died Dec. 14 from advanced kidney disease that he had been unaware of.

“I’m grateful for the time I had with him, but we should have had several more decades together,” Emily said.

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Brian Rich with his wife, Emily, and their daughter, Edith Mae

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Mr. Rich, who grew up in the Rockford area, got his start at a local television station. He later worked at CLTV and WGN, where as an avid foodie, he enjoyed working on the food-focused show “Chicago’s Best” as videographer and editor. 

He later worked on the show “Windy City Live,” which aired on ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, documenting the city’s food scene with on-air personality Ji Suk Yi.

When Yi took a job at the Sun-Times in 2018 as the host of a show that explored the city’s neighborhoods, Mr. Rich came with her.

“He could come across as reserved, some people may say quiet or shy, but if you took the time to get to know him, to talk to him, you’d find out he’s a lot more than that,” said Yi. “He had a really good kind of devilish sense of humor, and sometimes behind a full beard and glasses, it was hard to read his expression, but I could always tell. He had a kind of twinkle in his eye and a robust laugh. He could be pretty dry and sarcastic.”

Mr. Rich, she said, was also a talent when it came to filming.

“He could bring movement to the static plate or drink, mouthwatering and palpable,” she said. “And he would work obsessively over finding the right music and matching the music to the shots.”

Yi said he was a keen observer of life.

“He had an appreciation for life’s absurdities. Depending on where you live and how you’re born, life can be a slog. He understood the complexities of that. He was a realist, but also a romantic, because he wanted to make his wife’s dreams come true. He was incredibly devoted and romantic and hopeful.” 

The couple met in 2013 via match.com and went to O’Callaghan’s Pub in River North on their first date.

“We sat down and were talking, and each of us kind of looked at our phone at the same time and thought ‘Oh, maybe it had been an hour or so,’ and it had been four hours. ... That was pretty remarkable to us,” Emily said. 

“In the first few years of our relationship, he surprised me every day, just with little gestures of love, and he was always his same self and just got more and more loving and kind every day,” Emily said.

Mr. Rich grew up playing hockey, a sport that gave him lifelong friends, including Steve Harnden.

“He was someone who I just absolutely cherished. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body. He just wanted to have a good time and everybody to get along,” said Harnden.

“He had a really big heart, and it’s weird to say about a bigger dude, but he was really just a sweet guy,” Harnden said.

After the conclusion of the show he worked on with Yi, Mr. Rich worked as visual journalist for the Sun-Times, where he chased news stories.

Ashlee Rezin, a Sun-Times photographer, said Mr. Rich was a total pro, loved his family and kept her in stitches.

“Once he suggested hosting a show called ‘‘Unpopular Opinions with Brian Rich,’ and that’s when I learned he didn’t like the Beatles. He was a great guy. I’m going to miss him,” Rezin said.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Rich is survived by his parents, Timothy and Deborah Rich; his brother, David; and sister, Amy Vosmek.

Services will be private.

Family asks that condolences and memories be shared at www.brian-rich.com.

Friends and family also created a GoFundMe account to benefit Mr. Rich’s wife and daughter.

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