Thursday, February 25, 2010

Eulogy for Ray

February 24, 2010; Boca Raton, Florida

First of all, thank you for being here. The love and support from family and friends is the thing that’s keeping us going during this unimaginably horrible time.

Darlene, Sarah and Ben, and Peter as well as my mother Lee, my in-laws Ruth and Tobe, Aunt Wendy, Uncle Steve and Aunt Miriam deeply, deeply appreciate it.

I’ve personally gotten unbelievable and amazing love from people I’ve known all my life… for years, months … and even from someone I just became friends with a few short weeks ago. Beloved aunts. Dear cousins. Friends. Colleagues. Friends I barely knew or never saw in person or met once. Fellow parents and allies in the fight.

Beautiful. A blessing. Amazing! Visits. Calls. E-mail. Facebook: Facebook has been great!

Jews. Christians. Buddhists. Moslems. Atheists. Whatever. Love. Powerful love. Thank you. Thank you. I love you too.

So let’s talk about Ray, my youngest child. My baby. My little boy.

If you knew him at all, you know how charming he is. Is, not was. I’m still charmed by him. We all are.

A charming Pachter? Is that an oxymoron? Darlene is very charming of course and Sarah is a pageant queen. Ben and I have a somewhat more casual relationship with charm and tact, though we do try.

But Ray: you could drop him into a crowd of strangers and within a few minutes, they’d be his pals. Right? That’s Ray. And it was sincere.

Ray was named for my paternal grandfather, Ralph: Raphael Ralph Pachter. RRP. Ray is Raymond Raphael Pachter. RRP. Boy, those two together, had they known each other, would have been dangerous. Two peas in a pod, as Darlene likes to say. RRP times two.

Ray’s quite a character: Deep: when my father died, he’d ask me for months where Grampa Howie was and about the nature of death. An infant Woody Allen, I thought. Now, in about an hour — give or take — his mortal remains will rest just a few yards from Grampa Howie’s.

Ray loved music, as do Sarah and Ben. Ray thanked me a bunch times for turning him on to the Beatles and the Beach Boys. Was (Not Was). Miles Davis. Horace Silver…. And for taking him and Ben to see The Who a few years back. Ben says Ray’s favorite album was The Who’s Quadrophenia and I’m not surprised.

Ray loved music and he loved his family. And he was quite adept at using the Jedi Mind Trick on Darlene. The Force is strong in that one.

Every one of us in his family and among his friends can talk about how charmed we were and are by his ready laugh, big smile and words of love. In fact, the last thing he said to me was “Love ya, Daddy.”

Love ya, Ray.

He cared deeply about his family and when he returned to live with us in late October, there was a new appreciation from him of us. He started to compliment my cooking and devoured things that he previously wouldn’t have even touched. Fish. Even spaghetti, which he hated to eat because it was so unmanageable to him.

But Ray’s own cooking and eating habits would have made Elvis Presley blush. Greasy fried eggs and waffles and bacon and lox and bagels and strawberries and syrup and cheese and crackers and bananas and raisin bran. With lots of salt, pepper and garlic powder. Slathered in butter and/or cream cheese. This was one meal, by the way. Elvis would have told him it was a little unhealthy… thank you very much.

Ray also loved cars and once took an unscheduled ride in Darlene’s Camry one afternoon when we were away… a few years ago. That was exciting. He also owned a couple of vehicles that we didn’t quite know about, but that’s another story for another day.

Ray was loved… is loved by many people. I only wish that Ray took that love seriously.

I know. Shoulda woulda coulda but if he felt the love from us maybe it would have kept him from the people who didn’t value him for who he was, and might have helped him make better choices.

Shoulda woulda coulda. Right. I know. Forget it.

It’s unreal to think that we won’t see Ray again. That’s really the hardest thing for me.

He told me last week that he wanted to spend more time with me; how he missed me when he was up north. I told him that I was here and just say when and I’ll make the time.

I still haven’t watched the DVD of Inglourious Basterds because he said he wanted to watch it with me… so I held off.

But we all must remember Ray as he was, as he is: A charming, lovable and loving boy. A music lover, a musician.

Ray is a song that plays forever in our hearts and minds for as long as we live.

With loud drums! Shredding guitars! Powerful bass!

I think Ray would really like that.

Love ya! Love ya! Love ya!
–Richard Pachter


rap said...

June 13, 1989 – February 21, 2010

Denise Laborde said...

Hi Richard
Lovely words about your Ray. I am sorry he is gone. My thoughts and love are with your family.

Nettie Hartsock said...


I'm really holding you and your family up in my prayers. This was a wonderful eulogy. God bless all of you.


Mitch Joel said...


Words fail me. Please know that you and your family are definitely in our thoughts and prayers. Stay strong and know that we are all here for you - in any way possible. My deepest condolences.

Ann said...

Condolences for you and your family. My heart aches for your loss. A beautiful eulogy.
If there is anything..... Ann

Unknown said...

Hello Richard,

I have never met you but I had the pleasure of knowing Ray. He was a great friend to my son, Patrick, here in New Jersey. He stayed over at our house many times last summer. He truly was a joy to know. My son valued his friendship deeply. The two of us have been crying on and off since we heard this sad news. Please know that your family is in our prayers. Ray will always be remembered by us. I hope that time will ease the pain and be replaced by the warm glow of Ray's loving spirit.
With sincere condolences, Robin Foley

Yvette said...

Hi Richard,

Beautiful words for a beautiful being.

Tears came to my eyes reading this. God is watching over him..that is all I can say.

Peace be with you and your family.

Always try to remember the beautiful memories, the music he created and loved, and the food he ate, the lovely words he said to you and the hugs and kisses he gave you throughout his short life.

I scattered my mother's ashes in Half Moon Bay, one of her favorite beaches in Northern California. A small fishing village that was home to surfers and fishing fleets. Now, whenever I breathe the salt air or swim in the clear green ocean of Florida - I think of her and in the most positive manner. My father's spirit - I celebrate whenever I hear his favorite music, eat the foods he loved or take road rips..something he loved to do. It helps so much to do this. Try to keep those positive memories alive and well - it helps so much!

Much love and empathy,

PJF said...

Mr. Pachter,

I heard these words first hand and they are truly beautiful. I have read it since then...I am very sorry that I will never have the chance to see Ray again, and I'm very sorry for you and your family. When I think about really hits deep with me. Me and Ray weren't around eachother as much as we used to be...its still just as surreal to me. I don't think I ever thanked you for letting us jam in your house..had it not been for that, Montage probably wouldn't have been..without it, Ray, Ben, and I would not have had such good times. Thank you. Words can't fully express emotions...I'm very sorry.

little drummer boy said...

Richard, I am sorry for your incredible loss. I was a musician too. A prodigous drummer who earend scholarship offers from places like UM and Oberlin. Ray was lucky he had a dad who celebrated his gift. I did not. Every dad should read your post. My dad is an ok dad. He is also very lucky he has a son like me to forgive him. But forgiveness is one of the lessons I learned from him. Ironic in a good way....