The theme this week has been about friendships; one featured a friend for over 50 years followed by recent friendships that developed while away from home.
Today I want to honor the loss of three different and unique men this past week. Loss at anytime of the year is never easy; during the holidays it is magnified for grieving families and friends.
Joe was born on May 8, 1946. Twenty five years later to the date, he was the best man in our wedding. He was a husband, father, grandpa and fraternity brother. Distance separated our families. But in the early days we enjoyed many happy times together. Pat was a beauty and we became instant friends, she was one of my bridesmaids. They were our first friends to have a child. Joe was part of a group of fraternity brothers that moved from Michigan to begin their careers in California.
Joe was in failing health these past 11 years. But he will always be remembered for his smarts and his wit. Just a couple of months ago, I had the CA, brothers over for dinner. They remain very connected and I know they are thinking about Joe this week, and figured that Butch was waiting for him with open arms.
Rex was a classmate from Junior High and High School. He was so popular because he had a magnetic personality and a smile that would light up a room. You couldn’t miss him, he was so tall!! He was also an outstanding athlete, lettering in Football and Track. On Facebook the memories continue to pour in about what he meant as a friend to so many. He too was a husband and father. He was a retired school teacher and his passing was swift and unexpected.
Lastly, just yesterday, Westchester lost a community treasure. Alan was also a husband, father, and grandpa. He lived a wonderful life of 92 years. He outlived both of these men by more than 20 years and had not retired completely from his legal practice. He leaves a legacy of volunteerism that is so meaningful to our community.
Alan was a major presence at the Westchester Y. He and Mary Ellen just celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary. They were a power couple of great significance as board members, committee members and Y’s men members. He never said no to a request. He was the go to guy, with the warm handshake, an easy smile and the twinkle in his eyes. Plus he had a great giggle.
The last few years have been hard on his knees but not on his spirit. We had a poker tournament fund raiser last year and he had such a great time everyone was cracking up as he was all in and all out and everywhere in between.
We are a small community within a large city, but what makes us unique is the bond of friendship. Our hearts go out to Mary Ellen during this difficult time.
These stories are meant to respect and honor lives that were meaningful to so many people. No one is immune from missing family members as we gather together. We can use this opportunity to be grateful for the day today and look forward to tomorrow, it is a gift to be here.
RIP my friends.