Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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January 5, 2013

Day: Goodbye, my brother and friend

This week, I want to honor a person from my neighborhood.

There was a gentleman who lived two houses over from ours, and he had many times mowed my lawn without any asking on my part. There was a neighbor who gave me advice and had repaired my car without any asking on my part. There was a person who kept a watchful eye on our home whenever we were away – and not only the house but also any place on our property. One person in the winter came over and used his snow blower to clear my driveway and walks. Many times I had looked up while in the garden and seen someone working right along side me.

Right here I have to tell you that all these gentlemen were just one person who had been there for me and my family for a very long time. I also have to tell you that he was my younger brother.

Here was a man who had through the years made sure he had checked on his brothers and sisters and always was ready to help someone when needed. He had been my buddy at the ball games and a solid Kokomo Wildkat fan. The Chicago Cubs had been his favorite baseball team through thick and thin, whether they lost or won. He had never been one to beat around the bush when he thought you needed his advice. Being the next to last child in our family, he was always there for Mom and Dad, and he would never say anything negative about his brothers and sisters.

About six years ago he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and had an operation to try and get rid of it. During those six years, he had always been positive about winning this war against cancer, and we are proud of him for the way that he had lived the years since first finding out he had cancer.

About a little over four months ago, he was told by a doctor he only had three months to live. This started him on a road of hope that slammed to the ground. Without hope you have no way to fight it. It is my opinion and mine only that no one should ever dash the hopes of a brave man or woman who lives on that hope to get well.

Well, anyway, he started going downhill after that, but he kept saying he would one day go to a Kokomo Wildkat game with me. There was a desire in this fine brother who tried with all his might to conquer this fight of his life.

He passed away the other evening, and God stretched out his arms and said, “Welcome Home, my son.” We will miss that great person known to me as my brother, my buddy, my mechanic, my gardener, and my good friend. Never will I ever have another buddy like him, because he was one of a kind. He will be missed by the brothers and sisters who survive his passing.

But he will be in glory with the brothers and sisters who preceded his passing. And what a wonderful reunion with Mom and Dad.

We will always remember him as one who wanted to help others, and for the path he walked. There will be times when we will think of him as that great little man with a big heart. There will be times when we wish we still have him with us, but what better place for one such as he than being held in the arms of our Lord.

Thanks, Russell, for the memories. Thanks for being you, and thanks for our buddy days spent with each other.

Ray “Uncle Ray” Day is a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at uncleray@earthlink.net.

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