How do you celebrate the life of someone who was loved and respected by so many, yet such a humble man in many ways. How do you honor the most honorable? This weekend we had the privilege of hosting a celebration to commemorate the life of someone very dear to us. Since he has passed we have tried not to talk about him too much because the pain of losing him is still too raw. He was my husband’s best friend, a mentor to our children, and beloved friend to me.
He grew up in rural Maine and never forgot his humble beginnings. His father valued a good education and moved his family to California when Jim was a junior in high school so his boys could get a better education. Jim left a high school of 100 students (Hamden Acamdemy) to attend Berkeley High with a student body of 2,000. This would seem daunting to many but Jim thrived becoming a football star and school leader.
From there he attended and graduated from UC Davis, worked for John Deere Company as a salesman, and went on to purchase his own very successful dealership here in the Salinas Valley.
We wanted the celebration and décor to reflect the life that Jim lived. I set the tables with burlap tablecloths and bright suzani overlays. The day began with sunshine a reminder of the light he brought into all of our lives.
Jim loved living in the canyon so I wanted the flowers to look like they were gathered from my garden (some were)
The food was catered by our good friends and caterers extraordinaire Portobellos
There were mementos of “a life well lived” throughout the house
Many people spoke at the celebration including my two children. Here are some excerpts from their (Colin & Jenna (I wish I had the text from the other speakers)) comments.
(Colin “Annie the Cow”, Jim and Jenna circa 1990)
“Jim was a gentleman in every sense of the word, and the kindest, most genuine person I have ever met”.
“He took pleasure in giving and did nice things for people because he enjoyed it” “On a scale of 1-10 Jim was a 12”
Jim with his older brother Joe and nephew Bradley at a 49er game
“Even in the last few weeks of his life; his focus was not on himself” “No one will ever touch as many people in such a positive way, but if we can all take just a little piece of Jim with us, we will all be better for it. Jim was truly a giant among men and we feel very fortunate to have had him in our lives”
Our “kids” said it so well. There is no need for Steve or I to say anything…it was a life “Well Lived”
On a lighter note Maryann from Classic Casual Home and I have gathered another group of fabulous design bloggers for another in the Project Design Series.