Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

The Memorial Service

So I spent the core of yesterday afternoon at the memorial service for Franz. I confess, I hadn't decided about whether to go or not until that morning -- while I respected and liked him, we were never precisely close. But eclecticmagpie asked if I could come and say a few words about Pestle, and the Universe told me that I should go. (I try to pay attention to synchronicity: when events are pushing me in a particular direction, it usually means that there is a reason.) I'm glad I did.

The formal service mainly consisted of remembrances -- people talking about various aspects of who he was and what he did. I learned a good deal that I hadn't known about him: while it was obvious that he favored the intellectual side of things, it was the particular characteristic that came through in most of the non-SCA reminiscences. I learned about his check from Knuth (for solving one of the hard problems that Knuth hadn't really expected anyone to solve), and his early work on Ada. Tibicen reminded me that he was a fellow member of the Felding Transportation Corps (and like me, considered that a serious badge of honor to be kept and displayed). I spoke about his work on Pestle, as well as the Order of Us. In place of a conventional religious emblem, they'd put his caduceus up on the wall, and Anton reminded us of exactly how that had been used in Commedia.

The gathering was neither small nor large, but was a truly remarkable cross-section of people who I had never really associated with him, and I spent much of the time catching up with old friends. I talked business with Tucker Taft, one of the leaders of Intermetrics back when I was just starting out professionally. I chatted briefly with Jana, who I hadn't seen in years. I had a long conversation with Phelan and Skia, neither of whom I even had realized *knew* Franz, and Skia reminded me of a detail about our infamous trip to Quebec that I'd long forgotten. Eliz, Fritz and I spent a while poking through the Ladies of Carolingia book, identifying the many friends pictured therein.

It was a good wake, and a good time. Frankly, I've been to too many memorial services that have wallowed too much in death. But his brothers told us specifically that they wanted to learn about his life from his friends, and that they wanted to hear a bit of joy and laughter. I think the day brought that: there were plenty of tears, but overall it was a proper celebration of his life...
Tags: diary

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