At the American Legion Post 49, a small group of people gathered to remember Raymond “Ray” Schroeder. His son Mark, a pastor of a church in Los Lunas, ran the service. He started out saying, “This is a sad day for me,” and went on to quote psalms and scripture for words of hope and comfort.
Ray was remembered as a most faithful, dependable, reliable person. He was artistic, patriotic, organized, highly methodical, conservative, always prompt and he would not be hurried. He could paint an entire house and not spill a drop. He served in the Navy in World War II.
He loved good food and drink, especially Mexican food and potatoes, which were served at the reception afterward. A favorite quote of his was “I never met a potato I didn’t like.” Yet all the pictures of Ray shown during the service showed a trim man, throughout his life.
He spent more than 20 years volunteering for the Senior Companion Program run by the City of Albuquerque. He was one of the first to receive a volunteer award from Mayor Martin Chavez. Josie Cuaron Lyons, the supervisor of the program, got up and lauded him as a quiet, gentle man who has earned his wings. Son Mark commented that even way back, his dad always took time to listen and talk to seniors.
The American Legion has their own honor guard, a fact that surprised me. Two honor guards brought Ray’s ashes in for the service with a folded American flag. At the end, a team of five riflemen fired three volleys out in the parking lot, another honor guard played Taps, and then a team of three re-folded the flag and presented it to Ray’s son. I’ve got to hand it to the American Legion, it was the first service with rifle volleys I’ve witnessed during this 30 Day Challenge.
It was interesting to note that in the scrapbook on the memory table, there was a page with a picture of the tombs of George and Martha Washington in a vault at Mt. Vernon. Written beneath the pictures were words from George Washington’s will directing the building of the vault.
Wherever Ray Schroeder’s ashes rest, may he rest in peace.