Richard Alan Koenig This world lost a true gentleman of substance and style with the passing of Richard Koenig, 55, of Tulsa on January 2, 2020 surrounded by family.
Richard was born July 11, 1964 in Alton, Illinois, to parents, Helene Marie Koenig and Harry Darwin Koenig.
He was reared throughout Illinois during his childhood before moving with his family to Plano, Texas, in his teenage years. He graduated from Plano High School in 1982.
After college in Texas, Richard relocated with his parents to Owasso, Oklahoma, in the mid-80s. He eventually ended up in Tulsa where his love of retail fashion landed him employment at Loehmann's at the Plaza and Renbergs Department Store in Utica Square.
In October of 1988, Richard began what would become a 25-year tenure at Saks Fifth Avenue in Utica Square. He was most notably known as the department manager of fine and fashion jewelry during his years at Saks.
Richard forged a lifelong relationship not only with many of his clientele but with an array of nationally known jewelry designers during his time at Saks. He had a keen eye and the knowledge to recognize the quality and craftsmanship it took to make a custom piece of jewelry.
He always had a very successful jewelry department at Saks because of his high standards and expectations in customer service. He had an innate sense of what his clients' tastes in jewelry were in the Tulsa market on his many buying trips to New York for fine and estate jewelry.
A cause very close to Richard's heart during his time at Saks was Fashion-A-Cure, a Pink Ribbon event benefiting Oklahoma Project Woman and women's breast health.
For over 10 years, New York fashion designer Carmen Marc Valvo and Saks Fifth Avenue partnered to bring his latest collection to Tulsa to support Project Woman. Richard and Carmen became lifelong friends through Pink Ribbon.
Richard was co-chairman of the highly successful 2010 Fashion-A-Cure event. He was the recipient in 2012 of the prestigious Hope Award given for his outstanding efforts and dedication in fighting breast cancer.
While at Saks as jewelry manager, Richard began his collaboration with Tulsa Opera. His contributions to special events, that Richard created, greatly benefited Tulsa Opera and the community. A highlight was when Richard brought in famed jewelry designer, David Yurman who participated in events for Tulsa Opera.
Richard quickly became one of the most productive board members of Tulsa Opera and led many successful special events. He reenergized the organization's signature event, the annual Opera Ball.
Richard's love of opera took him on a new career path in April of 2013, when he became the Director of Development and Donor Relations for Tulsa Opera, a position he held until his death.
Richard was committed to the organization's special heritage, vision and culture by continuing to bring world-class opera productions to the Tulsa stage. He was excited for the future of Tulsa Opera and instrumental in planning for increased growth and achievement. Richard believed new and increasingly larger audiences should have the opportunity to appreciate and enjoy opera just as he did.
The path for this in his view was Tulsa Opera introducing and offering opera and talented performers in as many different forms and venues as possible. To accomplish this, Richard led Tulsa Opera's introduction of many innovative vocal music education and outreach programs benefiting people at all age levels throughout the community. These programs complimented and increased the organization's unique cultural value, producing the very best of time-tested and exciting opera for Tulsa.
Richard provided enlightened, vigorous and inspiring leadership for Tulsa Opera at a most opportune time for the organization. Every day, for all involved, Richard Koenig was and always will be the best of Tulsa Opera.
In the fall of 2013, Richard was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. Despite medical therapy, he ultimately underwent a bilateral lung transplant at St. Josephs Hospital in Phoenix in December of 2018.
Unfortunately after making his one year anniversary, complications from an infection took his life much sooner than expected.
Besides Tulsa Opera, Richard sat on numerous boards and generously contributed to many local organizations over the years.
Richard always had a sense of fashion and style and was known for being an impeccable dresser. He loved collecting antiques, going to estate sales and enjoying a matinee at the Circle Cinema. He always loved a good book, especially historical reads about the British monarchy and Queen Victoria.
New York City held a special place in his heart. He relished the energy and vibe of the city and the opportunity to see old friends in the jewelry and fashion industry.
Richard was preceded in death by his father, Harry Darwin Koenig. He is survived by his partner of 30 years, Tod Neumann of Tulsa; his mother, Helene Harper Koenig of Broken Arrow; brothers, Roger Koenig of Broken Arrow and Michael Koenig of Houston, Texas; sister, Janet Koenig of Fort Smith, Arkansas and their families; brothers-in-law, Steve Neumann of Basking Ridge, New Jersey and Scott Neumann of Brooklyn, New York and their families; as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 11:00 am, Thursday, March 19, 2020, at Trinity Episcopal Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Tulsa Opera.