Richard Kopperdahl, 83, wrote in the Voice about his gritty life

Richard Kopperdahl. Photo by Beth Sopko
Richard Kopperdahl. Photo by Beth Sopko

BY BETH SOPKO | Richard Kopperdahl died Aug. 21 at the age of 83 after a long battle with cancer. The cause of death was congestive heart failure.

Richard was born in Seattle, Washington, but spent his childhood and formative years in San Francisco.

He worked for more than 20 years at the Village Voice in the production department, and in that time wrote several cover stories that earned him somewhat of a cult following. These included “Bettervue Hospital” — about his hospitalization stays at Bellevue and Beth Israel for mental illness — which was rerun in the Voice a couple of weeks ago, with a foreword by colleague and friend Bob Baker; “The Bowery Remembered,” about his years living on the Bowery before it was cool; “Old Fashion Guy,” about being scouted as a runway model for Donna Karan; and “Living Sober,” which was a supplement and introduction to Alcoholics Anonymous that he wrote under the pseudonym “Dick K.”

He wasn’t shy about mentioning that “The Bowery Remembered” got him nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

He had also been a technology reviewer for the Voice’s Electromag and Technomag supplements.

He had lived in the same sixth-floor walk-up apartment since 1976. Richard retired in 2001 and spent his last years eating breakfast every day at the Odessa restaurant on Avenue A. Prior to that, he had been a breakfast regular at Around the Clock on Stuyvesant St. until it closed, and before that, he ate at Dojo on St. Mark’s Place every day.

Viewing of the body was at Peter Jarema Funeral Home, at 129 E. Seventh St., on Aug. 26. A memorial service will be held in the coming weeks.