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by Isabela Dias-Freedman
Ricardo Joao Gomes Dias, died on December 14, 2020 at his home town Para de Minas, Minas Gerais state, from COVID-19, after only one week battle the disease.
He was born on June 24, 1957 in the township of Nova Lima, Minas Gerais state in Brazil.
“Tio” (Uncle) Ricardo, as he was known by his nieces and nephews, was an upbeat person, strong personality, that will fill a room with his loud and sincere laughs, he always had a smile and a big strong hug to give to us every time we saw him.
On the day he was born, my father always remembered as the most difficult day of their lives, because it was the day their mother, Regina Gomes Dias, died after giving life to the little boy. My father, Roberto Gomes Dias was 6 years old and his late brother, Reginaldo Gomes Dias, was only 4 years old. He remembers hiding with his brother under a table or inside a box or room, and talking to each other about what they will do now that their mother died. It was not easy.
Their mother was only 26 years old and their father, Dr. Saul Dias, on early thirties, now had to take care of 2 boys and a new born baby. His older sister-in-law, Vanda (“Tia” Vanda), Reginas’s sister, was married, but could not have children. She offered to take care of the baby, so Saul could focus on his medical career and the boys. Reluctantly he accepted the offer and let Vanda take care of the baby.
One year after Regina’s death, Dr. Saul married again, with Maria Antonieta Souza Dias, “Vovo” (grandma) Inha, as she was called by all her grandchildren. She was a very caring and strong woman, who raised Roberto, Reginaldo and her own two sons with Saul, Ivan and Daniel. She always treated all of the children as her own. Even when the older boys were not cooperative.
However, Ricardo was raised by their Aunt Vanda, who he called mom. He would only spend some vacations and family events at his father home, with his father, brothers and step-mother. He was mostly raised by Tia Vanda. And in early age, moved to Rio de Janeiro with his adoptive mom, Tia Vanda, and Tio Jenom.
Ricardo graduated from technology (chemistry) high school and worked his whole life until retirement for the big Brazilian Oil company, Petrobras. He worked in shifts (3 nights in, 3 nights out) controlling pressure valves in oil exploration platforms in the Atlantic Ocean, out of Rio de Janeiro Coast.
I remember spending vacation days at his house. We would see him for only 3 to 4 days of the week. He had 3 children: Marcelo Ricardo, his older son, exactly my age, from his first marriage of 20 years with Tia Hortencia; and one daughter (Regina) and one step daughter (Bruna Barbara), he raised as his own from his second and dear wife of over 25 years, Manuelita Mesquita.
We all will miss his big hugs and smiles. My father, will miss his baby brother to whom he has been so close, especially for last 10 years, after Tio Daniel (younger ½ brother) and Tio Reginaldo passed away.