Thursday, October 12, 2017

Robbie Jaeger December 23, 1979 - October 5, 2017

Maybe there should be a Yelp for Memorial services. Criteria being location, convenience, timing, ambiance, staff, emotional support, general sincerity of the pastor and in this case production value?

If there was I'd rate the memorial service for Robbie Jaeger Five Stars.
Robbie Jaeger passed away October 5th he was just 37.

But first a little back story.

My wife and Robbie's mother Jan have known each other for years, and Heather, Robbie's younger sister and my wife worked together at the same bank.

I first met Robbie years ago during the whirlwind of life on both side of 9/11 at date that so many of us mark the passage of time. Now 16 years later my picture of Robbie is finally complete. 

Robbie rented an apartment from me all those years ago, I knew little about Robbie at the time. What I did know was that he was the son of a business associate of Mrs Cedar, and I trusted her judgment so there was no application, no deposit. I honestly paid little attention to Robbie since he paid his rent on time until he didn't. 

I'm a terrible landlord, a complete pushover. Any sad story and I'd waive the late fees and forgive past due and back rent. But I drew the line when Robbie tried to pay his rent with a script and a cut of the royalties which he believed would be huge! 

The deal was simple enough, a sort of go fund me before anyone considered "Go Fund Me" or "Kick-Starter" or even had iPhones. Seems he and a friend were working on a play or maybe it was a sitcom, I have no idea, except he put a pile of papers on my desk and offered to make me a producer. Sadly, I never looked at more than first couple of pages. I smiled and thanked him for the offer, told Robbie I'd have to think about it and picked up the phone to call Mrs. Cedar the moment the door closed.

A few days later his mother paid the rent and life moved on.

I learned a few things last night during the Memorial Service, first I am no judge of talent and second my life is better for knowing Robbie Jaeger.

Robbie was extremely talented, his resume' is long and amazing, actor, singer, dancer and more.

But wait ....

This was more than a memorial service or a review of life accomplishments, this was a production, that featured appropriately a prelude of a dozen Broadway Show Tunes.

Thomas Moore then delivered a stunning rendition of Amazing Grace which left those gathered awestruck and conflicted as whether to stand and applaud, or sit solemnly. We all sat quietly. But that would was the only time as the message became clear Robbie was a performer and applause was indeed acceptable.

Yesterday's Memorial service was also mix of raw emotion as several people talked of Robbie. Martha O'Neill told wonderfully funny stories as did Corina Knott both while holding back tears, Ian Johnson powered through his words while over come with emotion.

Though these wonderful people, I also learned that Robbie also had a quirky side, such as....

He loved watching reruns of the "Golden Girls" that 1990's sit-com featuring  Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty.

Turned our that Robbie's idea of the perfect baby sitting gig was spending time with his young nephew, napping on the couch and watching runs of the Golden Girls.

When WFAE's Mike Collins rose to speak his voice cracked and he struggled as well. But the show must go on and he was able with the support of Brian Kahn to give us all a sense of what it was like to work with Robbie over the years. Susan Roberts and Jenna Opiela expressed their gratitude for Robbie's life as well.

Then the 16 member cast of Charlotte Squawks joined together to give a perfect performance of "Season of Love" followed by Ashley Bradford who spoke for Robbie's family.

Reverend John Cleghorn addressed those gathered speaking about love and caring for each other, something that Robbie lived his life by.

The thoughtful words, tender moments, prayers and memories continued for nearly two hours.

But what is a production without a slam bang, epic ending to tie it all together?

I'm sure Robbie would have approved of Mike Collins "borrowing" Robbie's young nephew James plopping him up on a pew as they both led the cast of Charlotte Squawks in a terrific loud and prefect rendition of "Thank You or Being a Friend" the Golden Girls Theme song.

What a wonderful and fitting finish!

Robbie blessed so many with his life, including Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts who this morning said via Twitter "His was a life lost way too young. Robbie will be missed by many."

Mayor Roberts was one of more than 100 people who came together to remember Robbie Jaeger last night.

Godspeed Robbie - Cedar Posts


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He will be forever missed.