CHICAGO – After Easter breakfast with his wife, Richard Looey headed out for fresh air with two of his boxers, Ringo and Daisy.
Looey told his wife he planned on a long walk near Belmont Harbor and slipped a camera in his pocket. He liked to snap pictures of the dogs on special days.
About two hours later, police arrived at the couple’s home on Chicago’s Northwest Side and told his wife, Maria, her husband of 25 years was dead.
Looey tried to rescue a dog that had either fallen or jumped into the lake, authorities said.
About 9:20 a.m., rescuers responded to a call about a man shouting for help from the lake, Officer Kristina Schuler said.
When a fire department helicopter arrived several minutes later, the man was underwater and nowhere to be seen, said Larry Langford, a spokesman for the Chicago Fire Department.
Rescue divers were sent into the lake and brought the man to land about two minutes later. He was taken to Weiss Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:15 a.m.
A spokesman for the Cook County medical examiner’s office identified him as Baba Looey, 57.
The odd-sounding name was a nod to his sense of humor, Maria Looey said. Her husband had legally changed it because his given surname, Bogulewski, left so many people tongue-tied, she said.
He owned a tool and die business, could pilot a plane and was curious about the world, she said.
“He was very creative. He could make everything from anything,” she said. “And he loved his animals.”
Richard Looey died trying to save Ringo, a pup that was less than a year old, his wife said. Ringo also was lost. The older Boxer, Daisy, was returned to Maria Looey.
The couple didn’t have children, and they cherished the dogs, she said.
Twice in the past several years, the Looeys have had litters of puppies. One was adopted by Jennifer Crane, who quickly saw their love for the animals.
Crane, of Wilmette owns show dogs and would occasionally call the Looeys with updates.
“He loved his dogs, They were a passion of his and hers,” she said of the couple. “There’s no question in my mind that he would have had no other thought than to go in after dogs.”