Remembrance of Jack Cirie
by Patrick G. Caviness, '64
April 21, 2009
John Arthur "Jack" Cirie was born on May 2, 1942 and died on January 6, 1992 at age 49. Jack was the first son of five children. The Ciries were part of a large Polish-Italian American extended family blessed with immigrants and first-born Americans who dedicated themselves to hard work and sharing with others.
Jack attended Branford High School in Branford, CT. He graduated from Yale University with a degree in Latin American Studies on June 15, 1964 and entered the Marine Corps as a 2nd Lieutenant. He retired from active duty 20 years later, in 1984, as a Lieutenant Colonel. He had a warrior's reputation of being fearless in the face of fire and possessing deep compassion for the Vietnamese people he met.
Jack married his first wife, Ann Gawlak, in 1964 during his senior year at Yale. Anne gave birth to three extremely beautiful and gifted daughters. Jack's first daughter Cybele (called Mo) was born in 1964, Andrea (called Deedle) was born March 15, 1967, and Amanda (called Boo) was born in 1971. Jack and Ann Gawlak were divorced in 1974.
In 1980, Jack married Anne Bartley. Jack and Anne lived in Washington DC where he finished his military career. Jack and Anne were divorced in 1990.
Jack married his third "Ann", Annie Brook, in October 1991, just three months before his death. They were married in a meadow on a sunny day on Lopez Island, off the coast of Seattle, WA. His mother's name was also "Ann." Jack's paternal grandmother was named Anna Cirie. Jack clearly favored the name "Anne" among the more significant women in his life.
In high school and college sports, Cirie was fiercely competitive, full of desire, toughness, quick thinking and confidence. After his 2-year career with the Marines, Cir was a trainer-consultant, director of design and development of Sportsmind, Inc., a high performance training company.
Jack listed among his substantial creations: "Three wonderful daughters, a superb fighting machine ― the 3rd Platoon, "K"-3, Fourth Marines, and an award-winning TV commercial for the Marine Corps.
Jack's Years Growing Up
Jack grew up in the small community of Branford, CT. The first son of a large Italian-American family, he played and excelled in most sports. As a Little League player Cirie won the "Most Valuable Player" award in the All-Star game. He was captain of his Branford High football team his senior year. As a senior, he scored 46 points and threw for 9 touchdowns. On defense he played middle linebacker and in one game made 19 individual tackles. It was Jack's brother Jerry who would break that one game record in his senior year.
Jack was president of his high school class for three years and a member of the Student Council. He won several leadership awards and was a member of the National Honor Society. Jack's Yale Bowl rooting section included his parents Nick and Ann, an older and younger sister, Ciri and Joanzie, and two younger brothers, Jerry and Jimmy.
Jack's father, anticipating his military career, called him the "Little General." His middle name, Arthur, honored Douglas MacArthur.
Jack's Years at Yale
Jack entered Yale in the fall of 1960 and graduated on June 15, 1964. His college career was rich and rewarding. He was a stand out in sports, a solid student, member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, and as a senior, a member the Skull & Bones senior society. Jack and Terry Holcombe, another highly regarded high-school football player from East Haven High, were roommates their first three years at Yale.
Jack had a sterling football career at Yale. In the 1962 season he intercepted 5 passes, just one short of the Yale record at that time. In the 1962 Harvard game, he threw a hip at a tackler and charged up-field almost untouched to score Yale's only touchdown on a 59-yard punt return.
According to his senior salute in the 1963 Colgate-Yale Program, Cir was called "The Cat" because he was always "a thorn in the side of opponent's offensive players." As appropriate as the name is, it was probably one of Charlie Loftus' sports writing "monikers." The name was never used on the playing field. His teammates often called him Cir, Cirrius, and Serious (owing to the somber look on his face).
In the 1962 season, Jack Cirie stole the ball at the one yard line from Princeton's crushing fullback on what was sure to be a touchdown. Jack was stunned and dazed after the impact. The fullback had thrown a hard forearm shiver to Jack's helmet. Without thinking, the fullback had used his carrying arm to deliver the blow. Jack spun off the runner (ball now tucked under his arm). The fullback stumbled into the end zone and threw up his arms up signaling a touchdown. The referee didn't. Dazed, Jack staggered about 20 yards before the Princeton players realized they hadn't scored. Cir had the ball and was running erratically the other way. He ran it back 64 yards to set up a Yale score.
Jack later said he saw the Princeton fullback run straight over Patrick Caviness, a hardnosed linebacker, without breaking stride. Jack, smaller than Patrick, said he decided to tackle the ball, not the runner. Jack was always smart like that under pressure.
While Cir was never going to play pro football because of his size (5-9 and 168 pounds), he was always a larger-than-life presence on the playing field throughout his college playing days.
Along with his two letters on the football team, Jack won two letters on the Eli lacrosse team, a game he particularly loved (it was wide open and he could use his small size and quickness to his advantage). He also participated in Yale's boxing program where he won two middleweight boxing titles.
Jack learned to fight sparring with his brother Jerry and in the streets of Branford. In the ring as in his life, Jack was a master of effortless motion and quiet intensity. Jack always kept his cool and composure. Even when being pounded, he was thinking. Jack would occasionally get caught in the ring against the ropes and take seven or eight sharp blows. Meanwhile, defending himself, he would wait patiently like a cobra for that one opening to strike back with devastating counter punches.
Jack and Patrick, both on the Yale boxing team, had a mutual respect for each other's boxing skills. At the beginning of the boxing season, Patrick would ask Cir what weight he was going to fight to be sure and put on enough weight to stay one class above Jack's weight. Jack would counter by saying he intended to keep his weight down to stay out of Patrick's weight division.
Jack's Years in the Military
In the military, Jack began a career that spanned 20 years from 1964 to 1984 as a US Marine Corps infantry officer. He served as a platoon commander and advisor from 1965-1966. He embarked on a second Vietnam tour of duty in 1969-1970. He was a director of Armed Forces Advertizing Programs from 1980 thru 1984. During his military service he received the Bronze Star, the Silver Star, and the Legion of Merit.
He attended Yale University between his two Vietnam tours, where he took intense language courses in Vietnamese. While in the Marines, he attended Wharton Graduate School and received his MBA in 1971.
In Washington DC during his last assignment in 1983, Jack had the title of Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary of the Navy; Lt. Col, Director of Advertising, Marine Corps. In this capacity, Jack worked with an advertising firm to produce one of the most famous and successful Marine recruiting ads ever made, entitled "A Few Good Men." For his creative effort, Jack was awarded the Legion of Merit, the highest peacetime medal the Marines grant.
During his time in the Marines, Jack dedicated himself wholeheartedly to the warrior's path. He was immersed in practicing his warrior skills, following the warrior's code, taking calculated risks, learning how to test himself, dealing with discipline to the violence and death surrounding him.
In a July, 1986 article for Esquire magazine, George Leonard wrote a moving story about a firefight Jack was in. The article entitled "The Warrior" depicts Jack's first combat experience under fire in a Vietnamese graveyard. An excerpt from that article follows.
"Early in 1965, after six months of Marine Officers School, Cirie arrived at a place called Phu Bai, near Hue. It was just one day after the first contingent of U.S. Marines landed. "I got off the airplane, got in a jeep, and drove over to where the battalion was setting up their base. I was met by my company executive officer, who greeted me as a newly arrived platoon commander. He handed me a map, some gear for my pack, and pointed out towards the horizon. 'Your platoon's out there,' he said, 'and you've got an hour to get there before it gets dark.'
"His first major test as a leader came just before the summer monsoon season. It was cloudy and cooler than usual, and very, very dark. They got to the Vietnamese graveyard at midnight, exactly as planned. The graveyard overlooked a road that the Vietcong used when getting rice from a nearby village. It was a perfect spot for an ambush, and as Cirie positioned the twenty-four men he had brought on the mission so that they were in a line parallel to the road, he said to himself that everything was going like clockwork; nothing could go wrong.
"Now his men were sitting or squatting, their weapons trained on the killing zone along the road. Cirie started working his way from one end of the line to the other, moving as quietly as he could in the pitch darkness, putting his hand on each Marine's shoulder in turn, making sure that weapons were pointed in the right direction, whispering words of encouragement. He was just three feet from the last man in the line, a machine gunner, just making out the man's dark outline, just reaching out to touch his shoulder, when the inexplicable happened. The machine gunner jumped to his feet in terror, and, almost at the same instant, Cirie found himself looking straight into the bright-orange muzzle flashes of AK-47 automatic rifles, less than six feet away.
"They figured it all out later and realized the odds for its happening that way were about a million to one. A group of Vietcong had picked the same spot for an ambush, and had moved in only minutes after the Marines. The first VC, in fact, had probably bumped into the machine gunner in the darkness, then had raised his gun and fired. At that instant, without thought, Cirie dropped to the ground and started firing his pistol in the direction of the muzzle flashes. His men also began firing, but most of them, not knowing what had happened, were aiming at the road, not the Vietcong. The machine gunner lay dying a few feet away. Bullets were flying everywhere.
"For Cirie, it was a moment outside of time. Lying there on the ground firing at the VC in a void of darkness lit only by muzzle flashes, he was briefly tempted to do nothing more, to indulge in the luxury of incomprehension. But he rose to his feet, amazed at how calm he felt. His overriding sensation was one of relief; at last he was getting a chance to do what he as a leader was supposed to do. He began moving among his men, telling them to stop firing, to watch the flanks, to stay calm. He ordered flares shot up to light the scene. And all the time he was doing this, he was strangely, marvelously detached, almost as if he were out of his body. The Marines stayed there until it started getting light, then returned to their base camp. The Vietcong had withdrawn, leaving a trail of blood, but none of their dead or wounded.
"The episode in the graveyard — one more variation in an age-old story — sealed Cirie's unspoken compact with his men. What they had learned to expect from a leader was fulfilled.
"Four years later, Cirie returned to Vietnam as a captain, a U.S. advisor to a South Vietnamese battalion. And there were more of those moments outside ordinary time, more days of tedium and hours of terror, more than enough opportunities to look inside yourself in the presence of death. And, for what it was worth, there was a validation that comes with decorations and words about valor above and beyond the call of duty."
Jack once told Patrick a little-known story about his last military engagement in Vietnam during 1970. Jack had been relieved of his duties as an ARVN adviser and was waiting in a rear-guard camp to be sent home. At the base he learned his former Vietnamese company was caught in a firefight, taking heavy casualties and was in danger of being overrun.
Without hesitating, Cirie hitched a ride on a helicopter right back into the fight. Once on the ground he listened to battle chatter over a radio. Jack said it was clear the Vietnamese company commander, a man he had fought with and respected, had "gone completely crazy." Enraged, the commander was sending his men in waves to die needlessly.
Jack began crawling across the battle ground to the bunker where the leader had taken cover. Cirie said if he had no choice, he would kill him. By the time he had reached the bunker his moral predicament was over. The officer had been killed by enemy fire. Cirie regrouped the Vietnamese troops and restored order. There is little doubt Jack would have done what he had to do to protect those soldiers and stop the senseless slaughter. He was evacuated from his last military battle and flown to the US two days later.
Jack at Play
Jack loved any kind of adventure. In October, 1973 Jack Cirie, his friend Patrick Caviness and eight other men, decided to take canoes down a particularly desolate part of the Rio Grande River. Six members flew down in a single engine plane. The other four men brought five canoes and supplies in by truck.
One of the men, Jim Guy Tucker, the Attorney General of Arkansas and licensed pilot, was flying the plane (Tucker would later become a US Representative and Governor of Arkansas).
Tucker had chosen to land the small plane on a barren ranch just south of Marathon, Texas. The field was nothing more than a dirt strip on a flat butte above the Rio Grande River. As the plane circled on its final approach, Tucker told everyone to place their backpacks on their laps to shift weight forward. Because the field was short, Tucker brought the plane in "hot."
The plane hit the field hard and fast, clouds of dust everywhere. The plane's landing gear collapsed on impact. It went careening out across the desert floor. Like the coyote in a one of those Roadrunner cartoons, the plane shot out over a deep canyon rim and was momentarily suspended in time and space. Then the plane nosed over and plunged straight down, crashing through brush and rocks along the steep canyon wall.
Near the bottom, the plane slammed into the ground. All heads smashed into those packs that acted as "crash balloons." Only the pilot's head was unprotected. Tucker hit the Plexiglas windshield, breaking it and cutting a large gash across his forehead. The smell of gas was everywhere. Tucker turned and screamed, "The power's off, get the hell out."
Patrick kicked out a side panel and scrambled through the opening out on to the wing. Cirie was right behind him. Somehow both managed to hit the ground at the same time.
Cirie and the others would run the Rio Grande for a week in open canoes. But that first night, under a starry sky next to the Rio Grande River, Jack and Patrick sang Dylan's "Knock, Knock, Knockin' on Heaven's Door" over and over again with a deep profound feeling of being alive.
Two years later, in August of 1975, Jack and Patrick decided to hike the High Sierras. Jack wanted to explore a little known mountain pass called Pants Pass, near the headwaters of the Keweah River. Six days later, on a bleak plateau resembling the moon, Jack and Patrick made their final ascent across a snow field and into the skree-filled Pants Pass.
Skree is thick loose patches of rocks and pebbles. Finding solid footing in skree on a steep slope can be almost impossible. Jack began sliding through the skree and slowly toward the back of the pass. His body slipped down until he was barely clinging with one hand to a small ledge on the side wall of the pass.
On his belly he grabbed desperately to stop his backsliding just as his knees hung out beyond the overhang. Jack, never the one to miss a chance to inject a little humor into a serious situation, cracked, "Pat, watch closely, I'm only going to show you how to do this once!"
Jack put just enough pressure against the wall of the pass to brace himself. He slowly maneuvered his body over the loose rocks and back into the pass. Slower still, he pulled himself into a small hollowed out nook in the rocks.
Patrick seeing Jack was safe, climb over some boulders and into Jack's small perch. Reunited, they hugged each other and laughed their asses off. Hot, tired and with 50-pound packs that tried to pull them off the face of the rocks, they climbed up and over the peak and down the other side. Only after they had reached a glacier lake far below the pass did both mention in passing that they thought they were going to die up there.
Cir started played a guitar and blowing on a harmonica in his early days in Vietnam and continued strumming and singing with friends and family throughout his life. Jack got his voice and love of music from his father, Nick, who performed for years in a barbershop quartet. All the Cirie children and most of the grandchildren harmonize beautifully. Jack was influenced by Dylan's style. He was drawn to the traveling performers passing through those years. Jack liked the honesty found in folk tunes and in singing the old standards with friends over a few glasses of wine.
Cir was a practiced chef. He could whip up a pot of lentils or linguini and clam sauce (the key to both was to add a lot of good or bad Italian wine and plenty of garlic) that served two or twelve friends causing everyone to salivate long before the dish was served.
Jack liked working with his hands. He took leather and leather crafting to a professional level. He enjoyed staying up late at night making his friends cherished gifts of engraved albums and belts from fine leather. He left behind an array of water color paintings he made in Vietnam. He worked with beads and made crude and ancient jewelry.
Most of all, he enjoyed the camaraderie and care of friends or strangers soon to be friends.
Jack used to send Patrick writings that were guides to his life. Robert Louis Stevenson was one of his favorite writers. This quote by Stevenson expressed Jack's sense about how to judge a man's success in life.
"The man is a success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent people and the love of little children; who has filled his niche, accomplished his task; who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had. His memory is a benediction."
He held to and lived up to these measures of success in their fullest throughout his life.
In 1990, Cirie summed up his past life's accomplishments and growing sense of self awareness in these comments:
"I have chased self-knowledge and acceptance through the illusion of accomplishment: sports, titles, ranks and combat metals. I got smarter at surviving and tougher at withstandings. Got shot at a lot. Got missed. I shot back often, was accurate. I broke some hearts and had mine broken, too. Some tears but not enough. Made major contributions in every job I served and worked and occasionally was satisfied, missed a certain joy somehow.
"I experienced marriages to two wonderful women (at different times!) and co-created three incredible daughters who have turned out to be my friends. By and large I didn't learn much about relationships and precious little about women. My second divorce was a major wake-up call and deepened and intensified my journey toward recreating myself in my own image (as opposed to all other images I bought in to). Finally, I began learning (Hey! 25 Years isn't much for a "Beginning"!) about what it means to be a man. I even began receiving some lessons about what it meant to be a woman. Still found myself a long way from understanding either."
Of his present life in 1990, he rejoiced in his new transformation from his military career to his civilian challenge:
"I am designing, creating, and teaching the very things I want to learn the most: Integration of the body and mind, of the spirit and emotion; ways of positive transformation in the face of overwhelming odds (in our business, family, and personal lives); ways of accelerating learning — indeed learning to learn. And I'm being paid to do this … Amazing!
"I am enjoying being in partnerships and friendships with women (rather than marriages). I'm experiencing the joy of ‘High Monogamy' in my current relationship. I weigh a few less pounds than in 1964 and feel better physically. I'm enjoying being graceful."
At that time, less than 24 months before his death, Jack dreamed about his next 25 years predicting:
"I will love much more. I'll be much more available to my friends and family. Eat more vegetables, especially broccoli and potatoes. Drink more Italian (red) wines. Maybe more frozen yogurt, too.
"I will continue to be an educator somewhere outside the main stream. Will continue to learn and practice Aikido; write some clear, simple and beautiful poetry. Sing more songs. I'll be a grandfather who will surprise and delight his granddaughters and sons with special walks in the woods. There's a dog and a horse out there somewhere. I think they will teach me a lot.
"More alone time. But less time separated. More touching of the earth and giving back to it. More dreams, more smiles, more laughter and shouting. Less ‘right' and more ‘useful'. Less contemplation, analysis and arguments. I'll complete becoming a man and minor member of the species earth."
Cirie was nothing if not paradoxical. A man of high intelligence and deep acute thoughtfulness, he engaged in the study of moral philosophy and human psychology all of his life. He was constantly examining the ethical implications of his own chosen profession in the military. He was in some ways as unlike the notion of a traditional warrior as you could possibly imagine.
A gentle quiet mild-looking man, he could lie in a hammock reading under a blue sky as if harboring not a care in the world. He loved all children and enjoyed engaging them in his pranks. He cared about pretty women, good coffee, good tunes, cold beer, a few or more sips of whiskey, Italian red, conversation, songs and children. At times dreamy, Jack often appeared more a poet than a warrior who was the embodiment of the battle-stained leader he most certainly was.
If you spent much time around Jack you discovered his darker side. When under stress or threatened, a cold sheet of calculated rage would drop down like a curtain over his face. To combat these darker tendencies, Jack always found solace and comfort reading, singing, strumming his guitar, laughing at his own foibles, writing his poems and living a healthy lusty life.
His sister Joanzie said in 1991 he and Jack were walking down the main
street of Branford one night. Jack had returned to his hometown because his
mother was undergoing an operation for cancer. Jack talked about his plans
for the next 50 years. He told Joanzie he thought his mother may not live
much longer. Less than a year later, Jack died. His father Nick would die of
a broken heart 18 months after Jack passed away. His mother, now 93 lives
on. She remains the matriarch of 49 Lovers Lane in Branford in the same
house where all her five children grew up.
On the early evening of January 6, 1992, Patrick talked with Jack by phone. Patrick was in Dallas contemplating returning to medical school to obtain his doctorate. Jack called from a roadside phone outside of Seattle on his way back from a personal growth seminar in Canada. He said, "What are you waiting for? Don't to waste a moment; pursue your passion. "
Jack said he wanted to talk longer only he had been in some "rough housing" during a training seminar, gotten a bump on his head, and had the worst headache he had ever had in his life. He said he would call the next day. At 4 am the following day, on January 7 Jack's sister called Patrick and said Jack had come home, gone to bed, fallen into a coma and never regained consciousness.
The official medical report said Jack died of an aneurism on January 7, 1992. The doctors tried to relieve the pressure on Jack's brain but soon discovered he had advanced Leukemia. They could not stop the bleeding.
There were two funerals. One on the West Coast in Seattle was held in a dojo. Though people were filled with sorrow and sadness, it was a celebration of his life with people singing songs and many telling stories about their dear friend and loved one, Jack. The second was held on the East Coast in Branford on a cold grey day a week later. It was a traditional military service with an honor guard of meticulously dressed Marines firing their rifles in salute followed by a bugle's final mournful sound of farewell taps for one of their own.
Some have speculated Jack was a belated victim of Agent Orange, a defoliate used extensively in Vietnam and later connected to an unusually large number of soldiers who fought in that war that years later died of various forms of cancer.
According to those who were with him in his last few months, Cirie was, "impassioned and fully, lovely alive; a blend of awakened warrior, soulful samurai, and Tibetan monk." Clearly his accomplishments overshadowed the many prices he paid along the way.
In the game of college football, you live and fight together as a unit week after week through those few short seasons in the fall together and then go on with your lives. Gradually you perceive an unspoken truth — we will look out for one another, even 15, 20 years down the road, only to realize we cannot.
A sportswriter recently said, "Athletes are supposed to be invincible. Young and strong, we play the game confident that Death does not have a locker-room pass." Jack Cirie, Brian Rapp, Stan Thomas, and Strachan Donnelley, all Yale football teammates, were invincible because we remember them as young and strong. And all died too soon.
Jack had a sense of being on a journey through life early on. He was clear we all sense more about our travels than we can ever put into words. He liked to describe — in his poems and his letters in clear, simple and open terms — how he was moving through his life's journey.
He had this unblinking recording eye for the details and insights of his travels. His gift in writing was to give even the familiar its beautiful due. He could walk through the wilderness for days and weeks and then, months, even years later, write incredibly detailed descriptive perceptive poems and letters about his experiences.
He was passionate about his poetry and composed poetry most of this life. His poems were doggerel, free verse, trivial, profound, and some almost Dylanesque in their hobo lyrics. His favorite poems were "The Neighbor Girl", "Carousels", and "The Minstrel."
His poems written in 1969 and 1970 while in Vietnam were stark, candid, discerning observations about a war he questioned and later, thought unwinnable and wrong. A poem he wrote in 1969 called "Song for Cybele" for his oldest daughter, who would have been six or seven at the time he wrote it, expressed his early growing doubts.
"Song for Cybele"
Daddy, were you in the war?
What did you do? Did you carry a gun?
Was it like T.V? Our teacher said …
Did you like there? Was it fun?
Cybele, my child, it was my job;
I served the president.
And the flag looked so nice, above the rice,
We thought it was heaven sent.
Daddy, why did you go back again?
Did you like it a lot in Vietnam?
Will there be more? Another?
And dad, what is napalm?
Cybele, my dear, they told me certain
That the war was almost done.
But it was only the same, no one's to blame,
I really can't tell you who won.
Daddy, they told me in high school
In Vietnam we tried very hard,
But they had no speech for the language we teach,
Just Chinese, Viet, Montagnard.
Cybele, my girl, you'll hear told
How we were so very sure,
We knew the way, we'd saved the day
But they were so weak, so poor.
Well Dad, my professor in college,
He says it was all meant to be;
History has spoken, the line's unbroken
It's right if you're white and you're free.
Cybele, dear daughter, I cannot speak;
The answer is yours to find.
It is hidden there, soft as the air
Where your soul embraces your mind.
I Corps RVN 1969
Jack wrote poems up until a few days before his death. Some say one of his last poems, written in December, 1991, called "Along the Rim", foreshadowed his own death.
"Along the Rim"
While scouting along the rim of the miraculous,
My horse of Power, stumbles, falls
Back-breaking under the weight of its own grandiosity
Muscle-shivered, death throes
Nostrils blowing red glowing impotent rage;
A bullet through the brain
Trembles shutters, no pain.
Now dismounted, on foot alone
I traveled out past the Rim
Into the cratered mystery
Where no horse can go
Two feet ― almost too many
Not even solid ground or certain air
a-light transparent traverse is required now
The glide of flight
An absorbing of
By the many.
Xanthyros December 1991
Jack personified Frost's line, "it's hard not to be king, when it's in you and in the situation." Throughout his life, Jack was called on to be a leader ― in school, in sports, in the military and in business. A part of him exalted in the responsibilities and another part rebelled. Late in life he would say he had been, in Robert Bly's words, "a warrior and a king." In the last part of his life he wanted to be nothing more than "a jester."
If he had a warrior's heart, he also had the spirit of a jester and an artist. He had a comic mischievous way about him. When friends least expected it, he would pull some outlandish antic and then enjoy laughing about it in the retelling for hours.
Throughout his life, Jack possessed and practiced generosity and kindness. He had a fundamental, gentleness about him born from genuine strength. Most who knew him spoke of his warmth and that wonderful devilish smile that made you feel as if you and he were co-conspirators in life.
On Saturday, June 5, 1999 on the occasion of the '64 class 35th reunion, George Humphrey, Tony Lavely and Patrick Caviness drove out to Jack's family home. They met with Jack's mother and presented her with a Yale 35th reunion tee shirt in memory of Jack. Each man gave Ann a long loving hug. She understood Jack was still as much in their hearts as he was in hers.
Jack sent Patrick this reading about death from Henry Scott Holland saying this was how he wanted to view his own death.
Death is nothing at all; I have only slipped away into the next
Room. I am I and you are you; whatever we were to each other,
we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name; speak to me in the easy way
which we always used. Put no difference into your tone; wear
No forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always
laughed at the little jokes together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the
household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an
effort, without a trace of a shadow in it.
Life means all that it ever meant; it is the same as it ever was;
There is absolutely unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be
out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for
you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the
corner. All is well.
John Updike speaks of death as when "the earth tumbles on, and the sun expires, and unfaltering darkness reigns where once there were stars." Jack's life here on this earth is over. His memories ― those stars that once lit our nights ― remain an enduring reminder of his presence in our lives.
Poem on the funeral memoriam card
I call my fastest Horse from Darkness
Horse that whispers,
Horse patient as stone,
Horse wild as wolf teeth,
The card included a brief statement:
"Jack Cirie passed away suddenly and peacefully on January 7, 1992. He was taken by internal bleeding of the brain. Please send your love and blessings to Jack, knowing this is his spirit journey. A memorial service will be held 7 pm Friday, January 17, 1992 at the American Legion Hall on Lopez Island and in Seattle, Washington at 1 pm Sunday, January 19, 1992 at 1621 12th Avenue."