Thursday, March 27, 2014
Ray Card died early Monday morning. He was 75 years of age. The news of his death stunned me, as it did many in the Lake County Republican Party.
At the time of his death, Ray was Chairman of the Waukegan Township Republican Organization. Ray was one of those individuals who was always there for his beloved Republican Party, through good times or bad, no matter who was in charge. He was a tireless volunteer, stuffing envelopes, working on golf outings, organizing signs, parades, the parade float and literature, working on countless picnics and events.
A few years ago the Lake County Republican Federation honored him with the Robert Milton Award, their highest honor. A year ago, they created a Lifetime Achievement Award, just for Ray. Hopefully, they will take my suggestion and name that Achievement Award after Ray.
He will be sorely missed.
A few of us were reminiscing about Ray last night. Countless stories about him were told. All were fondly positive. It brought back memories of my first meeting with Ray, when I first moved into Lake County 34 years ago. It is part of a story I told to many people over the years.
It was early January, 1980, and as newlyweds, we had just moved into our first house, a modest three bedroom ranch that needed some serious sprucing up. Early on a Saturday morning, I was in the middle of painting the living room when the telephone rang.
"This is Senator Adeline Geo-Karis, to whom am I speaking with?" said the voice on the phone. She then congratulated me and explained how she had heard the news of our marriage and home purchase through a Greek-American grapevine. I would later learn that she had hundreds of similar grapevines all feeding her daily gossip and news. Then she was at her prime, no news slipped past her. She explained how she knew my father and other relatives. She wanted to see me.
"Sure," I said. "When?"
"Good, be at my office at 1:00 pm. today. 2619 Sheridan Road, Zion." After she hung up I scrambled to shower and shave, change clothes, and drove to a gas station where I purchased a map, having no idea where Zion was at the time. This was years before cellphones and GPS systems.
Somehow I made it there on time and I was summoned into her office from the lobby. Sitting in one of the chairs was Ray Card. For the next half hour I was immersed in Lake County politics from two of the masters until it was time for Ray to leave. "Don't worry," he said, "you'll get used to her."
"He's a good egg," said the Senator. "You always listen to him."
He was right. So was she.
Rest in Peace, Ray. You lived a great life. You will always be fondly remembered. And you will be sorely missed.