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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Family of Raymond Edgar Banks


Yesterday morning, we met in Jacksonville, Florida to celebrate the life of my brother, Ray Banks (age 86) who died on Oct. 2, 2009. The chaplain at Westminster Woods Retirement Center (where Ray and Evelyn had lived since 2001) was in charge of the service which included favorite hymns of Ray ("How Great Thou Art", "In the Garden", and "Spirit Song"), scripture (Ray's favorite was I Cor. 13), and prayers.

My favorite part of the service was the sharing of stories by family and friends of Ray and what he meant to everyone. That particular part showed me AGAIN just how much this man touched the lives of so many people all through the years.

My nephews and nieces had done a great job providing some flowers and also a table filled with special memories about Ray. I will post more pictures later. Today, I share two pictures from the Memorial Service. Above is a picture of Ray and Evelyn's three children (Bob, Carolyn and Steve). (Evelyn died two years ago.) Sorry that the picture is not very good. I should know better than to snap pictures with bright sunshine coming in the windows behind them... Duh!!!! Below is a better picture of the entire family.


Front row: Mary (Steve's wife), me, Carolyn
Second row: George, Bob, Steve, Don (Carolyn's hubby) and Mickey

Ray's children: Steve (wife Mary), Bob (wife Donna --who could not attend), and Carolyn (husband Don); Steve and Mary live in Kingsport, Tennessee; Bob and Donna live in Gaithersburg, Maryland; Carolyn and Don live in Yosemite, California. Besides these three children, Ray and Evelyn had six grandchildren.

My other brother's children: Mickey (wife Betty--who could not attend), and Diane (who could not attend); Mickey and Betty live in St. Augustine, Florida; Diane lives in Georgia now. My other brother (Jimmy) died in 1985. He and Margaret (who died in 2002) had two children and ten grandchildren.

We had a great time together after the service just talking and sharing stories about all of our lives. Funerals can be sad times --but they can also be joyful times when families get together just to share and talk. I'm sure that my brothers, sisters-in-law, and parents were all looking down on us today, and smiling ---knowing that those of us who are left here on earth are keeping their memories alive

God Bless You ALL.

Hugs,

27 comments:

Arkansas Patti said...

Ray certainly had a fine looking family Betsy. I know what you mean about the sharing of stories of how the person affected out lives. We can often learn wonderful things about a loved one that we never knew.
They are never really gone as long as we remember.

Small City Scenes said...

He will be remembered because he surely was loved. MB

Jayne said...

It's sad that it takes something like this to bring families together, but it's always so good to see each other and catch up. I am sure it made Ray smile from above. :c)

diane said...

I always think "A celebration of life" sounds better than "a funeral". And that sounds like what you did. Celebrated Ray's life and his loving family travelled miles to be there to remember him.My thoughts are with you at this time (I lost my brother last January)

Busy Bee Suz said...

What a beautiful gathering to celebrate Ray's life. I also think that we need to make funerals less sad and more joyful. I do love sharing stories of those that have passed on. This is how we keep their memories alive forever.
Take care, Suz

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

The smiles on every one's faces show that even though you were sad at the loss,you were able to remember the good times.For that I am thankful.Hope today is a good day for you.
Blessings,Ruth

Cheryl said...

I agree with Busy Bee Suz about making funerals less sad and more of a celebration of a life lived. I would imagine Betsy that your family smiled down upon you all that day with love, knowing you all were gathered together as a family. Your niece sure has a resemblance to you Betsy! Hugs to you and your family.

Diane said...

Sounds like it was a wonderful tribute to your brother. And another great tribute is is beautiful family.

Snap said...

Wonderful photos of the family. Ray was a very special person ...that's obvious! How fortunate for all of you.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Betsy: It is great when someone can be proud of the life you led. It is who you touch that will carry on your memories.

Cher said...

they all become angels who watch over us...

Betty said...

Great gathering of friend and family to celabrate the life of a loved one. I am sure your brother is looking down and smiling on all of you.
~~ Love and Hugs~~

Kamana said...

families stand together through happiness and sorrow.

Deborah Godin said...

Touching post - yes, funerals can be the place to share all kinds of life passages, not just about the one who is deceased.

amelia said...

Funerals can be a wonderful time to share the good things and good times in families.
You obviously have a wonderful, loving family and it seems you all enjoy each others company.
What a blessing..

SmilingSally said...

You're right, Betsy, funerals can be times of joy and celebration.

Bill S. said...

I am requesting a "Celebrate Life" service instead of a "death" service when I go. Wonderful. Pictures of family and friends were great. thanks.

storyteller at Sacred Ruminations said...

Lovely family photos! Sharing stories about my brother (whose 75th birthday would have been today) was the best part of HIS memorial service eleven years ago.
Hugs and blessings,

Dorothy said...

Wonderful tribute to your brother! He evidently had many friends. Families are re-connected through services and gatherings such as this. Glad you were there to be a part of it.

p.s. We may be headed to M. V. about Wed. Maybe we will see you there!!!

Jane said...

Hi Betsy,

I have thought about you over the past several days and am hoping that you and George are okay!

Jane

ROSIDAH said...

God bless you and your family too, Betsy! I believe it has been a wonderful tribute for your brother Ray. You have a lovely family. Have a great week ahead. Hugs and love from Indonesia :)

Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

You are still in my prayers...m...

Sunny said...

The strength of a loving family is such a blessing at a time like this.
I send a friendly hug your way.
Sunny :)

Karin said...

Thanks so much for sharing about this meaningful time in your family's life. It is truly wonderful to celebrate life while we are still traveling this sod together! We hold them forever in our heart and memories when they have gone ahead of us! So glad you could take the time and go to be there for each other in love and support!

Rose said...

Although I always hate having to go to a funeral, I am always glad that I went. In they end, they seem to be a celebration of life...does that make sense to you? You see people you haven't seen in years and relive memories. And lots of times it is the good ones that survive.

Cedar ... said...

So nice that the family could gather to celebrate your brother's life. He's always there in your memories. Hugs!

Cookie said...

It's so true that funerals can be a time to celebrate our lives and the past. ((Hugs))