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Friends, community applaud arts leader Richard Justice one last time

Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 10:55 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 30, 2020 at 2:37 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A staple in the arts and theater community.

“This place is a very sadder and darker place without Richard.”

Friends are celebrating the life of Richard Justice, a community leader, and coordinator for Augusta Pride.

“We all have our funny stories and our ups and downs with Richard,*laughs* but what an amazing human being,” Roy Lewis, a friend of Justice said.

Justice loss a battle with COVID-19, but his friends remember him as the light he was on and off the stage.

“He instilled a sense of confidence, of laughter, a joy for life. A light that shines - he found those lights in each of us as we were actors, as we were friends,” Lewis said.

Acting. Directing. And designing. There wasn’t any part of a production Justice didn’t have a hand in.

“He was probably one of the few people in Augusta, Georgia, that had been involved in the arts literally since he was a kid, and he’s been around for a while, he helped build a lot of programs up he saved a few from going out of business. And more than anything else he influenced tons of young people,” Austin Rhodes, another friend of Justice, said.

A performer himself, Justice led others to the stage.

“I don’t ever remember meeting Richard because he was always in my life,” Claudia Ballas-Latch, another friend, said. “The impact he made on me was introducing me and bringing me into musical theater and drama even if it wasn’t a musical. Richard was a large part in the reason I love the theater.”

Though he may be gone, his light remains in the hearts of many.

“Encouraging and supporting and he was that light that drew so many people in from so many places and it just drew you into him and of course he put you out there so that your light could shine,” Ballas-Latch said.

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