Thursday, August 4, 2016

Ray McClain

This is happening with greater regularity. Partly it is because of my vintage and partly because new technology is allowing us to find out about others who, otherwise, may have disappeared from our consciousness forever.

Ray McClain came to my mind about a half hour ago. Can't reconstruct now at this shaky moment why.

Ray and I were colleagues at SUNY Fredonia in the mid to late 70s and early 80s. Ray was a Sociologist and one of the good guys.  He and I played basketball together on the faculty team we called, Athletes in Limbo.  Ray was a forward-- a good rebounder and sure shooter from around the hoop. He snared rebounds away from kids a lot younger and did so effortlessly. I played point guard for the Athletes in Limbo. With other faculty members over the hill, we did a fair job of beating 19 year old hormone induced leapers who were surprised that we graying and balding egg heads could bounce the ball and put it in a hoop now and again.  One year we went to what was called, grandly, the intramural playoffs and defeated (as in stunned) a very good team. Essentially 8 players pushing forty overcoming some talented young-uns. The Athletes in Limbo drank some beer that night.

I visited Fredonia in the late 80s after I had moved east and stopped by Ray's office. There he was, as he had been while I was at the College,  in his office reading and studying away, available to students, taking some time out of his day to chat with me about this and that.

So, for whatever reason I thought of him today and decided to pop his name into google and see where he was at.

And then I saw a notice for his obit.  He died just a few months ago. Peacefully, it read.  He had taken a fall in October from which he never recovered and succumbed in March.  Tough to imagine a guy like Ray not with us. Only 73. The accompanying photo of him in the obit showed his great easy smile.

I hadn't spoken with Ray in over 25 years.  Even so, I know a little light has gone out of the universe.

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