March 08, 2004

Dan Tarman

I letter I sent to Jack Epstein the day after the service that contains my reflections about the memorial service and our Brother Ray


Just a quick note to keep you up to speed. Yesterday was Ray's memorial service. To say it was heartbreaking is an understatement. We were told that there were about 600 people there, packed into the SF Yacht Club. A whole slew of Delts attended...Knox, Chet, Delucia, Doncaster, Wedul, John Canapary, Waldo, de Freitas, White man, Paul Reilly, Sweeney, Etergino (I'm sure I'm forgetting a few).

Being with Ray's dad was like looking into a mirror and seeing Ray. The same gentleness, sweetness, big teddy bear kind of person. He seemed to bask in the warmth and love that was there, particularly coming from all of us. I just kept hugging the guy (I had never met him before), as did just about everyone else. He frankly seemed like he had lost his compass. Ray's wife Sophie was a pillar of strength, though her anguish was quite palpable and it is hard to imagine the pain she is going through.

There were a number of extraordinary, rip-your-heart-out moments, but one in particular is worth making special note of. Ray's wife and dad had basically set the room up with all sorts of remembrances of mostly. There were also two bulletin boards where she had posted literally scores of little notes Ray had hand-written to her over the years....some were like post-it notes, or just notes written on a little piece of yellow-pad paper. It seemed as if he had written her one every day. They said things like "Thank you so much for making me breakfast today before I went to work Sophie. You are the love of my life, my soulmate..." There were also notes he had written to his little 4 year old daughter Rose. Every single note was just flowing with expressions of love by him to his wife and child. It was extraordinarily difficult to read them all. What really jumped out at me by reading the notes, and seeing the photos, and hearing eulogy after eulogy, is that this guy just breathed life in every moment, and he exhaled it out to everyone around him.

It was one of the most profound days I think I've ever experienced, to see the measure of this giant of a guy as told by all of these snippets and vignettes. It was also incredibly touching to see our fraternity brothers coming together, as adults and fathers and husbands, and closing ranks and enveloping one another and Ray's family with genuine warmth and love and compassion. I was really proud of the people we've all become.

I thought you'd appreciate knowing what it was like...your name came up often (especially from'll have to talk w him about that:). I also wanted to let you know that I miss your friendship and cherish fondly the memories of our youth.

Let's do our best to be in touch with more frequency. And if there is a lesson I learned yesterday, it's that you can never tell your family and friends that you love them too much, or too often.