Richard Sher, 66, of Weston, died on Feb. 9, 2015, with his family at his bedside, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He was a constant summer visitor to the Vineyard, usually residing in Chilmark.
He was the creator, executive producer, and host of public radio’s game show Says You! The weekly series has aired coast to coast for nearly two decades. A modern version of a parlor game, the show celebrates the love of language through comedic wit and wordplay. Says You! is played live and taped in front of large, devoted audiences. Locally it’s heard Saturdays at 8 pm on WGBH (89.7) and WCAI (90.1), then repeated Sundays at 2 pm on WGBH. The show’s regular panelists include Paula Lyons and Arnie Reisman of Vineyard Haven. The other regulars are Carolyn Faye Fox, Tony Kahn, Francine Achbar, and Barry Nolan. The supporting cast — the show’s “bench” — includes two seasonal Island residents, Flash Wiley and Julie Jaffe. Over the past decade or so, live performances were held four times on the Vineyard, the last one in August at the Whaling Church.
“Richard had the uncanny ability to see something unique in each of us,” said Paula Lyons, “and when stirred and blended, his recipe satisfied all appetites for hilarity and intelligent fun! We have had a fabulous run because of this warm and funny man, whom we will miss more than we can now imagine.”
“Richard and I shared a view of the planet — cynical but zany,” said Arnie Reisman. “We bonded and became brothers — broken up by humor and joined by disagreements. He was an entrepreneur of a style of programming where it feels like a big party and everyone is welcome. We all loved him, and he will be sorely missed.
“I will never forget him — he’s never given me a reason to. And I can hear him now comically chastising me for ending that last sentence with a preposition.”
Prior to his success with Says You! Richard Sher worked as a freelance producer and writer for Boston television WBZ’s Evening Magazine and WCVB’s Chronicle. His media company, Pipit & Finch, produced video for commercial purposes and documentaries on issues he was passionate about, such as autism.
Born July 18, 1948, in Easton, Pa., he was the son of the late Albert and Jeanne Sher. His parents were founders and owners of Sherwoods for Kids, a children’s furniture and toy store in Easton. Richard Sher graduated from Dickinson College in 1970. He received a graduate degree in communications from Boston University. He also became a certified optician, working at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary during his graduate studies.
He is survived by his wife, Laura Price Sher, and his son, Benjamin Payne Sher. Laura is program producer for Says You! working for Richard’s media company, Pipit & Finch.
Richard was an exceptionally devoted father. He assisted coaching staffs in Little League baseball and Tri-Town basketball over the past decade. He was an active participant in the stewardship of the Town of Weston over the past 18 years, a frequent contributor to the Weston Town Crier, and a vivacious voice at the podium during town meetings.
Says You! will continue its broadcasts. Since it has been on the air since early 1996, there is a reservoir of nearly 500 taped shows that can play at any time. Part of Richard’s genius was his foresight in editing out all topical references, so each program is freestanding.
A memorial will be planned for the spring in Boston, and will be announced at a later time.