Richard W. Crosby “Ricky” AKA “Rike Paris”
1956 – 2018
On the day of Ricky Crosby’s wake, a rainbow appeared over the Lambertville-New Hope Bridge.
Born and raised in Trenton, NJ, Ricky was part of the New Hope family, living in New Hope for over 40 years. With a big smile and a bigger heart, he was a friend to all. Known to make a great pumpkin martini, Ricky was a bartender at Zoubi’s restaurant in New Hope, The Cartwheel and John and Peter’s. Ricky worked in drag at John and Peter’s until 1999, known as Melissa. His last bartending job was at Karla’s in New Hope. He was nominated in 2017 for Best Bartender in Bucks County.
Dedicating himself to helping others, he volunteered for FACT Bucks County (Fighting AIDS Continuously Together) and New Hope Celebrates during Pride week.
Always helping the LGBT community, he organized the Miss Gay USA Pageant and the Miss Gay Pennsylvania Pageant. As a participant himself, Ricky won the crown as Miss Gay Pennsylvania in 1978. He said he won a trophy and a sash and crown.
When driving in the New Hope Pride Parade or walking around town, Ricky would have his dog Bittsy with him, tucked into his jacket. Those that met Ricky said he “made us all feel we had a special relationship, we all did. Ricky is a New Hope institution.” Others said, “Ricky knew how to make everyone laugh and feel like gold”, and “Spent many a night at Karla’s laughing til my face hurt.” There are myriads of stories about Ricky and always ending with a laugh.
Sharon Fronabarger, past President of New Hope Celebrates said, “Ricky was an amazing person. I will always remember him for opening my eyes to the world around us and all of the diverse and amazing people that our in our small town, for being an example of living life authentically and to the fullest.”
Ricky’s presence and work done for the LGBT community will be remembered forever.
Ed Kimble who worked with Ricky at Karla’s said at the Celebration of Life Gathering held at Karla’s,
“He would be so proud and happy that you honored and celebrated his life because all he ever wanted in life was a celebration.”
His favorite expression, “Oh Mary” and infectious laugh, brought a smile to everyone. Everyone in town who knew Ricky loved him and those who never met him wished they had.
Perhaps in Ricky’s words this says it best-
Keep an open mind…
Have a heart bigger than your mouth…