Monday, July 29, 2013

Requiem For A Heavyweight

The world loses good human beings every day.  Thursday was no exception.  On that particular day, Raymond P. DeMarco died.  He was seventy-four years old.
Over the first two decades I have spent practicing law in New Jersey, I have been in and out of a number of our municipal courts.  Here in the State of Concrete Gardens, it is in our municipal courts where a significant portion of our populace has its only interaction with our justice system as these are the courts where most traffic offenses (such as speeding, careless driving, etc.) are handled and where other minor non-motor vehicle violations are adjudicated.  
Among the courts in which I have represented clients (including far too often both of my kids and a number of their close friends - none of whom could drive worth a lick when they first got their driver's license) were those in which Raymond DeMarco was the judge.  Irrespective of the town, the offense or the number of people who also happened to be there on the afternoon or evening in question, Judge Ray never did anything but treat the client who I was appearing on behalf of and me as the attorney there on his or her behalf in a professional, courteous matter.  He was a credit to our profession - his and mine.  
More than anything he ever did for me professionally was a single act he performed for me on an entirely personal level.  Margaret and I were married in June, 1993.  Margaret - having been married once before and divorced - and me - being at the very least an agnostic - were not candidates for marriage in the local Catholic church.  Inasmuch as how important we thought that both Joanie K and Suzy B would think it was that we got married in  church, we invested a significant amount of time and a not insignificant amount of money at a Presbyterian church in Rocky Hill, a church at which the minister had told us we could get married.   Being a man of God, the right Reverend Rugby Auer waited until nine or ten days before our wedding date to tell us that he had changed his mind about our use of his church.   Truth be told, he did not even call us directly to tell us.  His secretary did.  She simply told Margaret that after reflecting upon the matter further, Rev. Auer had changed his mind.  Thus endeth the conversation.
Judge Ray's wife, Helen, was on the faculty at OLMV, which is where our kids attended grammar school.  I do not recall presently what grade Mrs. DeMarco taught but given that our pair was only in second and first grade at the time we wed I am fairly confident that neither of them had yet made her acquaintance as a teacher.  It mattered not.  She became aware of our predicament somehow and shared it with Judge Ray.  He sent word back to school through her that he would happily marry us.  All he needed to know was where and when. 
Margaret and I married as we had planned to - at 12:00 Noon on Saturday, June 19, 1993.  The Hon. Raymond P. DeMarco did the honors.  It was the first time either of us had ever met him.  Among his many attributes, he sure as hell knew how to make a first impression. 
Safe journey Judge Ray.  And thank you for all you ever did for me. Professionally and - more importantly - personally.

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