Monday, June 9, 2014

Celebrating the Life of Wayne Gravelle

May 31, 2014
Felton, CA
(two of three to get caught up)
Marilynn caught up with us at the elevator this morning and we all had a quick breakfast in the lobby. Her sister Pat joined us shortly after, then we were off for the tiny town of Felton, CA. 

The daughters chose this beautiful location for many reasons, and it just happens to be one of my very favorite places on the planet. Best known as the home of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Felton is just 25 miles south of Santa Clara off Hwy 17. Once you cross Scotts Valley you enter a world of old oaks, fluttering cottonwoods, and majestic redwoods.

Felton, CA

It is truly a heavenly place, and so fitting for our celebration. Wayne's love of trains was honored throughout the day with intermittent whistles in the background :-).

There are many ways to say good-bye. I believe that when family and friends gather at the end of one's life and the laughs outnumber the tears, the stories are silly as well as profound, the songs are sung with gusto, and the times together are remembered with love, then the good-bye is a true celebration that honors the passing. 

Today's celebration of Wayne was all that and more. Everything was perfect. In recent years Wayne developed a love of Legos and they made for a bright reminder of his creativity. Marilynn sang, family and friends shared stories, a lifetime of photos were enjoyed on video and at the memorial table, his favorite rock and roll played throughout the day, Marines did the flag presentation, grandchildren and cousins played under the trees - the weather could not have been better.

Perfect setting

Marilynn sings Amazing Grace

Marine Honor Guard

Marilynn and Michelle

Wayne's Lego-cy

MeMe came all the way from Colorado and took all of these amazing photos - plus 400 more!  (seen here with Jessica)

Wayne loved crows and they showed up to honor him as well, cawing loudly during the video and circling overhead for several minutes. Later they joined the feast, helping themselves to cake crumbs and a chicken bone :-). It was a special visit.
Crows paid their respect
(I did take this one pic)

People came from as far away as Arizona, Utah and Colorado. Messages were sent from those who could not be there in person. Multiple generations of family enjoyed the opportunity to remember Wayne in small, intimate groups, and to get caught up with those they hadn't seen in a while.

Yes, the reason was a sad one, and the occasion was touched with tears and sorrow, but the theme was joy and Wayne was truly celebrated. My family has been me and my two boys for quite a long time. To be a part of this gathering, of this family - for that I have no words.


  1. Wayne was a very lucky man to have had so many people who loved him so well and came together from near and far to celebrate his life. I don't think many people can say as much. It looks like a wonderful day.

  2. Again, so sorry about the loss of Wayne. It is sad that gatherings such as this tend to bring families and friends together more than actual get togethers. I agree with Sherry in that he was a lucky man to have so many who cared.

  3. Sorry to hear of the loss of your loved one. It sounds like you had a very nice memorial and I'm sure he enjoyed it from above.

  4. So sorry about your loss, what a beautiful and loving celebration of his life.