This past Wednesday was our literal Funeral for a Friend, as we bid our final farewells. The funeral itself was, in my opinion, the best possible sort: brief and focused. I’m not a fan of ceremony for ceremony’s sake. A few of us spoke of Jerry, how we’ll remember him and what he meant to us, and that was to the good.
Afterward his wife hosted us all at a local establishment with a very nice buffet and an open bar. As one might expect from a lifetime where golf played a major role, a large percentage of us represented his golfing mates, especially the “underground league” he and his friend Chris set up and ran every year. It was called “Fleppert,” a contraction of Chris’ and Jerry’s last names.
What prompted me to post this was a photo of our table that Chris sent to me tonight. We represented the hard core of the Fleppert gang, and stayed the longest and probably partied the hardest–Jerry wouldn’t have had it any other way. Here we are, as captured on camera by Jerry’s sister, offering one of many toasts to his memory:
I should add a little thumbnail of those present. Paul and Chris were among Jerry’s closest friends, and co-conspirators in creating Fleppert. BJ literally grew up around Jerry, as some of his earliest memories are of Jerry coming over for visits when he was a small child. Mike the Neighbor lived next door to Jerry for the last few years of his life, and was both an ad hoc drinking buddy and the one who stepped up to handle a lot of the physical tasks around the house when Jerry became too weak. When we gathered to decorate the large evergreen tree outside Jerry’s house for Xmas 2009 it was Mike who got us the mobile cherry-picker so we could reach the high spots. Spinny & Anne are, of course, yours truly and my lovely wife (who had no trouble holding her own among this motley group of guys). Joe is my partner in “that other golf league” that Jerry & Chris split from when they formed Fleppert, and a frequent Fleppert attendee. Last, but not least, Jim is Anne’s brother, a solid Fleppert regular and one of Jerry’s long-time friends.
Although we shall always miss Jerry, our gathering that day went a long way toward giving me closure and in helping me let go and move on. He’ll still always be there with us, though, every time we tee one up or hoist one high.
Here is a link to the post I made the day he died.
Fare well, Jerry.