Well I'm back -- so to speak. I'm now in La Crosse, WI (got in last night around 10:00), getting ready to go visit my grandmother and attend the Syttende Mai festivities across the river in Spring Grove. Before I go, though, here's a quick report on my trip to St. Louis for the funeral:
Ray's memorial service went well (if that can be said for such an event). It was held at the funeral home, and was a fairly intimate gathering; I'd guess somewhere around 50 people were there, mostly family (I believe). Appropriately, he was being buried with his copy of Decisive Campaigns: The Blitzkrieg from Warsaw to Paris. I had to grin when I saw that!
The Patriot Guard riders were there in full force as well (for those who didn't know, critter served in the Navy when he was younger). I'd never seen them in person before, and they presented a most impressive -- and moving -- sight. I thanked them for their service, having promised myself I would do so should I ever have the opportunity.
Ray's ex-wife Linda (with whom he'd remained on good terms) found me shortly before the service began; she greeted me warmly, especially when I explained what I was doing there and how I knew Ray. She delightedly introduced me to his friend Greg, with whom he'd been playing wargames for the better part of 30 years. (We talked shop a little bit, despite his being clearly out of my league -- this guy's experience with the genre was orders of magnitude beyond my own -- and also got to learn a little bit more about critter in the process.) He was an incredibly nice guy, and we sat together during the service.
I also spoke with Ray's fiance Debbie afterwards, and she too was very glad to see me after I explained how I knew him. (In addition, I thanked her for informing us about his passing.) I told her and Linda about the Grogheads, Wargamer, and Matrix sites (I'd included the web addresses for all three in the card), and they said they would be sure to check out the threads dedicated to him. They seemed very touched by the fact that so many people whom they'd never even met were affected by Ray's death, and I made sure to let them know that they had our full sympathy and well-wishes.
Anyway, that's about all I got for now. I'm off to see my grandmother and stuff my face with fine Norwegian cuisine. Later guys!
< Message edited by martok -- 5/21/2012 9:11:40 AM >
"Evil is easy, and has infinite forms." -- Pascal