Remembering Richard Dalcourt: a student, son and friend

Friends and family of freshman engineering student Richard Dalcourt, who died by suicide on Oct. 3, share memories of him as “an exceptional person.”

Richard Dalcourt was a freshman mechanical engineering major who died by suicide on Oct. 3. Dalcourt is remembered by his friends and family as “caring,” “really smart” and “just a really good guy.” | COURTESY / PAIGE DALCOURT

Kevin Ku and Jess Sabin remember the many times they ate at Bobby’s Burger Palace and saw movies at AMC MarketFair 10 in Princeton, New Jersey, with their best friend Richard Dalcourt, or Rick, as many called him.

The three would eat at Bobby’s, see a movie — preferably something made by Marvel — and then go back to eat more burgers after the movie ended. It was a weekend tradition for the trio.

“Rick was like a brother to me and Kevin,” Sabin said. “We will never forget him and all the good times that we’ve had together.”

Dalcourt died by suicide on Oct. 3 after falling from a lounge window at 1940 Residence Hall. He was a freshman mechanical engineering major.

Ku and Sabin lost a friend who they described as “caring,” “really smart” and “just a really good guy.”

Dalcourt received scholarships to several universities, but chose to attend Temple. During this past summer and the first few weeks of the semester, Dalcourt is thought to have “slipped into a depression” possibly because of his college transition and plans for after college, his parents Kathy and Al Dalcourt wrote in an email to The Temple News.

Dalcourt considered becoming a doctor and was thinking about applying to medical school. He did well in human anatomy and engineering classes in high school.

Dalcourt attended West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North in Plainsboro, New Jersey. This is where he met his “devoted group of friends,” his parents wrote.

Ku and Sabin played countless hours of pool and video games in Dalcourt’s basement during their four years in high school.

Dalcourt’s favorite game was Dark Souls, which allows the player to determine its plot, and he was so good at it that his friends would try to play with him, but it would usually end with him taking the controller from them and completing the level unchallenged, Sabin said.

“He would be yelling at us, ‘Oh, you have to do this. You have to do that,’” Sabin said. “Then, he’d get fed up, and he would just take the controller and beat it in three seconds. The rest of us were just sitting there in awe.”

“When Rick put his mind to something, he was really damn good at it,” he added.

Dalcourt, who was diagnosed early in his life with ADHD and had learning difficulties like dyslexia, still excelled in school and was known by many for helping others, Dalcourt’s parents wrote.

Ku and Sabin had algebra and trigonometry with Dalcourt during their junior year of high school. This was when they coined the term, “Rick Math,” used to describe Dalcourt’s way of solving math problems that didn’t follow the way the class was taught. Instead, he came up with his own way that neither his friends nor his teachers could decipher.

“Eventually, it became known as ‘Rick Math,’” Sabin said. “To this day, I still don’t know how he did it.”

In Dalcourt’s sophomore year of high school, his parents noticed that he was spending a lot of money at lunch — enough money to feed two people. They talked to their son about why he was spending so much. Dalcourt was buying food for another student who could not afford lunch.

“Rick was an exceptional person — always caring for others,” his parents wrote. Dalcourt extended his caring attitude to strangers too.

The friends ended their senior year with a class trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. As they walked through the park, Dalcourt noticed a woman had dropped her wallet. He didn’t tell his friends what he was doing. He just picked up the wallet, darted through the crowd and returned it to the stranger.

“He noticed before any of us did,” Sabin added.

“He doesn’t like to talk a lot, but if you get to know him, you get to see a different aspect of him,” Ku said. “He’s really caring.”

Ku and Sabin lost their best friend this month, but the memories of burgers, movies and late-nights in Dalcourt’s basement remain.

Dalcourt’s parents visited their son on Oct. 1 and took him to Outback Steakhouse for one of his favorite meals — a blooming onion and a hamburger with grilled onions.

“Our last words to him were that we loved him,” his parents wrote.

“I just hope that people really take this and acknowledge the people in your life,” Sabin said. “Just treasure those in your life. He was a really great guy, and I want everyone to know that.”

Suicide Warning Signs
If a person talks about:

  • Being a burden to others
  • Feeling trapped
  • Experiencing unbearable pain
  • Having no reason to live
  • Killing themselves
Specific things to look out for include:

  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means
  • Acting recklessly
  • Withdrawing from activities
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Aggression
People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:

  • Depression
  • Loss of interest
  • Rage
  • Irritability
  • Humiliation
  • Anxiety
Suicide Risk Factors
Mental Health Conditions:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Borderline or antisocial personality disorder
  • Conduct disorder
  • Psychotic disorders, or psychotic symptoms in the context of any disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Serious or chronic health condition and/or pain
  • Stressful life events which may include a death, divorce, or job loss
  • Prolonged stress factors which may include harassment, bullying, relationship problems, and unemployment
  • Access to lethal means including firearms and drugs
  • Exposure to another person’s suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of suicide
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Family history of suicide attempts
Source: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

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