Saturday, April 21, 2007

The End

Yesterday was the capstone of a sad and surreal week. Our organization gathered to celebrate my supervisor's life, and there were fun stories, and some tears, and the overall acknowledgement that we just weren't remotely prepared for this.

Ray’s children and ex-wife (still life-long friends) came from distant Vermont and Arizona to settle his affairs, and celebrated with us Ray’s life and accomplishments. National Public Radio sent a huge spray of flowers with their condolences, as did board members, the local symphony organization, and others in the community we serve. We received many emails, cards, and phone calls from others who knew him.

While being a private man in many respects, Ray shared his loves with many, and by the end of the celebration, we all knew him more completely than he let us in life. He loved trains and railroad history, and that’s one thing that everyone got to experience when getting to know Ray. He also loved to cook, and eat, from a wide cultural palette from Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

A few years ago, Ray took up coffee roasting in his kitchen. While the first results were terrible, he kept going until he got it right. He was also a skilled brewer and vintner, making fine beers and wines, which he shared with his family and friends. He also made cheese, which goes to show that you can take the boy out of Vermont, but you cannot take the Vermont out of the boy.

One Christmas, he made Tourtière, a traditional French Canadian meat pie, and brought that in to share. Like everything else, Ray had something special, and he would share it.

Ray was an interesting manager as well. We worked together on several important projects, and it was a rewarding experience. He really believed in my talents, encouraged them, and would challenge me with increasing responsibility. He knew that I worked hard, and never gave me grief for taking an afternoon off to golf, even suggesting it from time to time.

He was also was unafraid of change. He was always challenging us to look beyond our current state and assimilate ideas from a wide field of options. The phrase “But, that’s the way we’ve always done it” was anathema to him. But, he never instigated change for its own sake, but made calculated changes based on research and a great deal of deliberation.

Ray will be missed. What else is there to say?

1 comment:

Tiber Jumper said...

You were very blessed to have known him. Sounds to me like his goodness doesn't go to the grave with him but will be passed on by the likes of yourself and everyone he touched.

God bless and sorry for your loss.