Today Donna (my sister) e-mailed me this letter. I love it and wanted to share it with you all.
I wanted really bad to get up and talk at Jay's memorial service but every time I started to get up my legs wouldn't work. Not very often have I been spechless, but this was one of those times. I decided to write down what I wanted to say to everyone. There are soooo many good, funny stories to tell but this one for some reason sticks in my mind.
I know Jay had several nicknames: Mudbone, Jaybone and Jaybird are some of them. I'm not sure where they came from but I remember calling him Jaybird in college. A couple of years ago I remember him telling me that all his life every school he went to or coached at, the mascot was a bird. From Jr High where he was a Gosling, to high school where he was a Honker. Then on to College of the Siskiyous where he became an Eagle, then on to OIT where he was an Owl. Finiallyon to coach at Stayton High School were he once again was an Eagle. This cracked me up because here we have this fierce competitor that would have been so happy to have been a bear or a cougar or maybe a gladiator, but all he ever was, was a bunch of feathers. I laughed so hard when he told me that. Now that I think about that, I can't imagine there being a more appropriate mascot for Jay than an Eagle. They have such similar qualities: strength, beauty, freedom, majestic, mighty hunter, leader and someone that others look up to. Somehow it just makes sense to me. So I would say to you "Jaybird", as you now sit on your perch up in the sky, watching over all of us, I know you will continue to inspire others including myself to be the best we can be at all things and never settle for less. To not be afraid to venture out and take risks, otherwise we would not know what we are capable of. For this I will always be grateful.. Please remember that birds of a feather flock together, and all of us in your awesome family will help to take care of and support each other as we approach each day missing you and loving you. You are without a doubt the wind beneath our wings.
Now, if I had been able to get up and talk, it would be at this point that I would break into a Celine Dion type voice and belt out the song Wind Beneath My Wings and take everyone's breath away. Oh well, it was a nice thought.