Sunday 28 December 2014

Irish minister who wed Robin Williams and Susan Schneider speaks of grief

Robin's death was like a bolt of sadness, Reverend Peadar Dalton said.

Sarah Stack

Published 13/08/2014 | 09:53

Robin Williams and Susan Schneider
Robin Williams and Susan Schneider

An Irish-born minister who officiated the marriage of Robin Williams and Susan Schneider said he felt a bolt of sadness when news of his death broke.

Reverend Peadar Dalton said the actor his knew was a quiet, personal and friendly man, unlike the outgoing persona he watched on television.

Rev Dalton, who is originally from Tulsk in Roscommon, said the Hollywood star first introduced himself following a memorial service he officiated seven years ago.

“I was looking at him thinking ‘I know who you are’, but I was trying to put a name on him until he introduced,” the minister said.

The actor’s office later contacted Rev Dalton to see if he was available to wed Williams and Ms Schneider, a graphic designer.

“I was honoured and privileged to officiate that on October 22, 2011,” he said. “It was in a beautiful place called Meadowood in Napa Valley.”

Margarita Ramirez Dalton and Rev. Peadar Dalton at the ceremony

Californian-based Rev Dalton told RTE’s Morning Ireland that Williams was “very different” than the star he saw on television.

“When he came in to my office (he was) quiet, very personal, friendly, expressing gratitude for me being available to meet with them,” he continued.

“(He was) very ordinary and down to earth and very involved with the preparation of the wedding ceremony, and very sensitive towards listening to Susan’s areas she wanted included in the wedding ceremony. Couldn’t be more gracious and couldn’t be more calm and just very appreciated and spoke about how much he loved visiting Ireland.”

The minister said he only spotted one famous face at the wedding, actor Billy Crystal.

“Other than that it was neighbours, friends and family,” he continued.

“It was very important to him during the wedding ceremony as to how his children would be included and Susan’s children as well.”

The minister, a trained counsellor and therapist who was worked with people with depression, said the illness is like walking in to a dark room and there’s no switch to turn on the light.

“My initial reaction was just a bolt of sadness went through my belly for the country,” he said about hearing the news.

“There’s no way in God’s earth that we can have any idea what happens to a person in this situation unless we have walked in their shoes or unless we are inside their heart and inside Robin’s feelings and heart.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this article, you can contact the Samaritans on 116 123.

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