Summer’s Fond Farewells

The recent losses of three Cedars elders has softened the summer envelope for us. Deaths of any sort are a reminder of the finitude of life, certainly, but this combination carries with it some powerful dynamics, especially in that two of the three were relatively sudden.

Let us take a moment here to honor Louise Rikley (d. June 16, age 96), Doug Elliott (d. July 18, age 80), and Al Tlam (d. Aug. 18, age 88). They had all been active Sunday church-goers and will be greatly missed among us. A service for Louise was held in Poulsbo on July 21; Doug’s memorial event will be at the Suquamish UCC Church at 1 pm on Sat., Sept. 8; and Al’s family is still considering how best to proceed in this regard.

Louise had been living with her son Gene and Sandy Bullock for 26 years, enlivening their daily endeavors and travels, as well as Cedars activities with her sparkling personality and friendly nature. She was able to spend her last days in hospice care at home.

Doug was well beloved by all ages, perhaps especially as a mentor for our children’s classes, but also as an adventurous and thoughtful friend to many, not to mention loving companion to spouse Carol. The brain tumor that rapidly claimed him this summer was a distressing end to a rich and fulfilling life.

Al was an ingenious fellow with a compelling life story, who quietly made and maintained our Sunday service candles, just the latest of many technical accomplishments. With no forewarning, however, something unknown led him, in the end, to take his own life, and we grieve with his family at this abrupt close to a long arc of living.

As we turn toward September and begin to bid farewell to another summer, we also relish the memories of our now-departed friends, Louise, Doug and Al. They each graced our world for a good long, hearty stretch. May they rest in peace.