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.