Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Saying Goodbye to My Fraternity Brother

A couple weeks ago, the weekend of Mother's Day, I had to attend the funeral of a beloved fraternity brother from the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, Tim Reeves. I received an email from my other fraternity brother Kent, who informed me that Tim had passed from cancer that Tuesday and services would be held the following Saturday morning.


Best friends Tim and John H.
Tim was 46, very private about his medical issue and had kept the gravity of the situation, for the most part, secret. Needless to say the email came as a shock. I had no hesitation when I emailed Kent back that I was rearranging my schedule so that I could make it. There was no question about it. I needed to attend and support Tim's family and my fraternity brothers who were close to him.

I had met Tim when I went to Rutgers University. By the time I became a brother, he was no longer at Rutgers but still remained a brother for life coming to our events whenever he could. His best friend was my other fraternity brother, John Hammell. John and Tim attended high school together and following that, college. Their friendship and bond remained as strong and close as ever until Tim's untimely passing.


John gave one of the eulogies recounting how genuine Tim always was.He entertained us with stories of Tim's love of golf.  Tim was always so positive, uplifting, ready to crack a joke, and ready to help anyone in need. It was just such a fitting tribute. Tim was a big guy and when I first met him at a Phi Psi football tailgate, he gave me a big bear hug which I think cracked three or four vertebrae. LOL. That was Tim: he greeted you with a big smile, then the fraternity handshake, and then a big bear hug. And he always meant the hug. Such a great guy.


Kerry and I acting crazy in the late 80s!
I became good friends with his sister, Kerry who was two years younger than me. As they say, we just clicked. Although she went to West Deptford HS, we had a bunch of mutual friends in my high school too. Unfortunately as life happens, we grew apart. But I knew in my heart that I wanted to attend the funeral, not only for Tim, but also for Kerry.

Tim's Mom spoke briefly at the funeral. I was holding it together until she stated how upset she was that she would not be receiving a Mother's Day card that year from her son. I broke down into tears as did most of us by that point. For me, it brought back memories of how close I was with my deceased mother with that mother - child connection.  Tim's wife also spoke, thanking everyone for attending. The pain and sadness was so evident and overwhelming.  Tim leaves behind two incredible children, Caitlin and Collin, who were so brave at the funeral.

Tim and Kerry
Kerry gave the last eulogy. She spoke wonderfully and spoke of fun times with Tim, their constant jokes and teasing of each other as brothers and sisters do. She also showed me the side of Tim that I never knew:  the family man, the son, the brother and the father. And what you saw with Tim was what you got. So real, honest, and genuine whether it was with his family, his friends, or his fraternity brothers. Such a rarity these days.

Kerry concluded her eulogy with shots passed around of Tim's favorite Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey. There must have been at least 50 shots passed out. I stood with my fraternity brothers. At Kerry's direction, we all toasted to Tim and took the shot. Upon leaving, we also received golf tees in remembrance of his love for the sport! It was a truly fitting send off.

Brothers Tim, Dave B., and myself


I looked around at these guys, my fraternity brothers, and marveled at how we all came here for Tim and to support Tim's family. There were those brothers that couldn't attend but had wanted to. We understood that. These guys are the same guys that have met up for the last 25 years at McSorley's Old Ale House in NYC for our annual reunion in November. Tim unfortunately couldn't make it this last year.

I love these guys like family. I want you to know that I went to the funeral also for them. I wanted and needed to support their loss of their close friend. I did not know Tim as well as my brothers did but of course he was still my "brother". I was closer at the time to his little sister Kerry.

My brothers were the ones that went to school with him, pledged with him, and golfed with him. I came along after but Tim being the great guy that he was, treated me as if I were always part of that original group. That was Tim. That meant the world to me and I will never forget that.




5 comments:

  1. Beautiful--thank you Marc.
    Nancy Reeves

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  2. Very nicely put Marc. Live Ever, Die Never. Phi Kappa Psi. Tim's spirit will never die.

    Jeff Martin
    RU '86

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  3. As we say in the Navy, Bravo Zulu (Well done) Marc. That's the sad part of life, losing our family and friends to the Grim Reaper. In this life of ours, not all family members are Blood Relations, some are family because they want to be. I can understand your sorrow, as I've lost a few Brothers along the way too.They were LEO's and Military Brothers that I knew, worked with and served with. Each loss is very near and dear to each of us. Now to end with an old Irish Blessing: May the road rise to meet you.
    May the wind be always at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face.
    And rains fall soft upon your fields.
    And until we meet again,
    May God hold you in
    the hollow of His hand.

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