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Ellen G.
user 25370542
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 1
Hi, this is Jay's oldest daughter Ellen. First, I'd like to say how comforting it is to see such kind words about my father. Seeing this memoriam online has meant a lot to me and it is wonderful to see how many lives my father was able to affect with his vast knowledge & intellect. It will continue to be a great comfort to see his words live on in this forum. I did meet some of you at the picnic. My daughter and I along with my mother are in the picture that was posted in this thread.

Mark has the service arrangements correct, 10-1 visitation followed by a short memorial service on 9/19 at the Zeis McGreevey funeral home on Detroit at Northland. Any memorial donations can be made to any organizations that strive to make the world a better place for the next generation. We had initially thought of NPR and the Cleveland Metroparks but did not want any donations in his honor to be specifically limiting as he had so many profound interests and there are so many organizations that struggle for funding.

This has been a very devastating and unexpected loss for our family and again it is so wonderful to know that he was able to share so much of the knowledge he had accumulated in his lifetime in this forum.

Please let me know if there are any specific readings he had posted or that he was particularly fond of. I haven't had a chance to read things he posted here yet. He was fond of so many writers and approaches to knowledge in multiple disciplines it is hard to pick just the right thing for his service. Now I can't make any promises about what would be included but we are looking for different ideas for readings.

Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts. We are going to miss him so much.

-Ellen
Mark T.
user 4783078
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 552
Ellen,

We are so happy to have you with us!

On behalf of the group, I extend our deepest sympathies for the loss of your father. While I and others here probably can't quite comprehend the enormous sense of shock and sorrow that you & your family must be feeling, let it be known that Jay is much-loved here. The CFT & related groups have self-assembled into a true community, which in turn has morphed into something much like an extended family... of which your father was a integral part. We'll never forget Jay D. Gardner!

Did your father have any particular favorite charity? We'll begin taking donations in Jay's honor... announcement will go out this evening.
Marni H.
marniphocles
Group Organizer
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 218
Dear Ellen,

I also am extending my deepest condolences to your family. We loved Jay - he was such an enlightened, thoughtful, funny and likeable guy who fit right in with the Cleveland Freethinkers, and as Mark says, became part of what we fondly call our extended family. He touched so many of us by just being Jay. He will be missed but remembered with such love and joy by so many people.

Thank you so much for joining our group! You're being here is a constant reminder to us of our fellow freethinker, and we very much want to get to know you and your family better. We hope that you can make future meetups :)

We will set up the Jay D. Gardner Memorial fund through PayPal. Any donations made to our PayPal account between now and 9am Monday morning will be put 100% to this fund. Those wishing to donate through other means can respond to the announcement email we'll be sending out soon.
Rafiq M.
RafiqMahmood
Bogor, ID
Post #: 913
Since Jay was so clearly dedicated to learning, how about a memorial library?
Ellen
user 9681087
Peninsula, OH
Post #: 149
A freethinker library is a great idea. Members could contribute books and an inventory could be posted on Meetup.
Mark R. O.
MROrel
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 85
Ellen, please convey my sympathies to your family. The loss of a loved one is always
difficult, I cannot image how you feel with the sudden loss of your father.

Your father was great foil for me especially face to face in our Roundtable
discussions. We even came to a mutual agreement, every now and then.


Most sincerely,

Mark Orel
Mark T.
user 4783078
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 553
Jay's memorial service was a fitting tribute.

Secular Humanist minister Dr. Rick Rickards of the local chapter of Center for Inquiry (CFINO) was the officiant. A brief chuckle arose when Dr. Rickards mentioned that some in attendance might not know that Jay was a skeptic regarding religious matters... I guess most everyone already knew. Jay never seemed like the type who would hide behind a mask of acceptability :)

For Jay's eulogy, Dr. Rickards had a reading from the works of Robert Green Ingersoll, AKA "the Great Agnostic". The words were beautiful & quite compelling.

This was followed by touching tributes by Jay's best friend (and CFT member) Mark Kearney, Jay's longtime friend & associate Jim Keller, and Jay's brother-in-law (Jim?).

A fine tribute to a fine man...
A former member
Post #: 199
I am very glad I was able to attend the service. Beforehand I got to watch an extensive slideshow of pictures of Jay in chronological order. It's amazing to see the many life stages that someone goes through.

I loved the words of Dr. Rickards and the eulogies. All were wonderful and very thoughtful. The eulogies were a friend, a family member, and a former co-worker- a nice mix of viewpoints and styles. It's wonderful to hear something like this when there is no exaggeration or difficulty in coming up with great things to say about a peson. In fact, there wasn't nearly enough time. The descriptions of Jay were so true and vivid that I honestly felt like I could imagine him in the room watching and smiling and laughing and the comments. You usually don't "enjoy" a funeral, but this one I really did. I actually thought I wish my mother had known him and come because she would have loved it.

It was surprising but wonderful that in the very beginning there was no shyness or apologies for the fact that this was a humanist officient and a humanist service. It was made clear that Jay did not believe in many things, and this was a common theme in the quotes and ideas expressed. This was great because anyone who knew him for his honesty, compassion and contributions was then exposed to something new and perhaps will be less afraid of the non-religious and skeptical as more and more of these kinds of events occur. It's sad that we may initially be "shy" about being open about our true values in public settings. My hats off to all involved because being one's self is the only way to ever be accepted and feel comfortable in society.

It would be wonderful to get the text of some of those words not only to share regarding Jay, but perhaps as a source for anyone in the future who needs inspiration. After my wedding, I thought of creating a depository of secular wedding readings and ideas, but why not have something for all ceremonies and life events? Naming ceremonies, weddings, funerals, graduation toasts, etc. It could be sent out to officients all over as well as open to their contributions.
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