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  • The Memorial

    I went to Mike Wieringo’s funeral service yesterday- the most emotional one I’ve ever been to. I guess I’m used to going to services for relatives in the later years of their lives and I’ve never been to one of a still young friend or peer. Still, it became overwhelmingly apparent that Mike touched a lot of people in a profound way. The service went on for two hours with friends telling stories of Mike that alternated easily between wrenching and hilarious. Matt Wieringo delivered the most eloquent and moving eulogy to his brother that I’ve ever heard. On the flight back, Karl Kesel and I kept talking about it. And Todd DeZago did his friend proud with touching and entertaining stories and thoughts, and generously shared his insights into Ringo. I hope everyone got a lot out of it, I know the whole thing helped me immensely. Funerals are really for the living, to help loved ones deal somewhat with their loss, and this really achieved that, at least for me. Listening to everyone talk about Mike made him seem so close, so still in the world I could hear his voice and see him in my mind as if he were there. As you would expect, the attendance made the chapel look like a comic book convention, albeit one where cartoonists dressed much better than usual. Afterwards many of those who could stick around went down the street to a pub to share more stories, and I wish I could have gone to that. I saw a lot of people there I wanted to talk to more, a lot more. Still I’m grateful that the family made this possible and I hope it helped them.

    Goodbye, buddy, though you’re not really gone. You cleverly spread yourself among so many people so thoroughly that they’d all have to be gone for you to be, if even then.


    Comment from Matt M.
    Time: August 18, 2007, 8:39 am

    And even if that happens, Jeff, the work remains. I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that some kids end up reading comics because of Mike’s drawings, which keeps him around even longer.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: August 18, 2007, 8:43 am

    That’s true!

    Comment from Brian M.
    Time: August 18, 2007, 9:35 am

    Absolutely as I think that a whole new generation is about to discover Tellos.

    Comment from chukw
    Time: August 18, 2007, 9:41 am

    I’ve posted this elsewhere- hope you don’t mind my putting it as well, Parker. BTW, Donna Klausner wrote us a nice note about the service- apparently it was very well attended, and quite touching.

    My wife Marc and I are hosting a memorial for our dear friend Mike Wieringo Saturday, September 8 in Redondo Beach. We’ll be holding it at a local park at 1:30 in the afternoon- all are welcome. It’ll be an informal event- Mike wasn’t exactly a suit-and-tie kinda guy. Wink We want everybody who couldn’t make it to the East Coast service to have a chance to talk about their friend and fellow artist, and say good-bye. We’ll also have a sketchbook or two to sign and draw in to send to his family. We hope you can join us- please RSVP to chukw@chukw.com for the directions.. Thanks!

    Comment from Kemp-El
    Time: August 18, 2007, 11:05 am

    Rich Case and I about shut the whole thing down and stayed at the pub until around 9:00 or so, and yeah, on the drive back we both commented on how therapeutic the whole thing was for us and how much better we felt. I actually slept for more than a few hours last night, but maybe that was just because of what an exhausting day it was. I’d much rather have Mike back than anything, but at least as a result of all this we all got to talk about how much he meant to us, and share things that we might not have ordinarily ever known about the big lug. So some good came out of it.

    Comment from Paul Rogers
    Time: August 18, 2007, 7:33 pm

    Hiya Jeff. Thank you for your kindness during this time of great sorrow. We all knew and loved Mike and will miss him so…damn…so, so much. This service was tough to do, you never think of having to go through this for your friend that will always be there for you, and then suddenly…he is gone. We were all blessed to know Mike Wieringo and our lives are better for that. Mike will always be in our hearts. Just think about that great laugh he had and you know what I mean. Take care. Paul.

    Comment from Tim O’Shea
    Time: August 18, 2007, 8:35 pm

    If the stories and thoughts shared at the memorial were 1/100th the amount that I’ve read on the Internet, I’d like to think it helped the family. I hope the experience eased your pain a bit as well. You appreciated his friendship and all that he offered you, and you will always value that. With that in mind, some part of Mike will live on in each of the myriad friends he touched.

    Comment from Chris Ferguson
    Time: August 19, 2007, 9:17 am

    It was definitely a testament to the amount of people that Mike has touched in his life. Friends, family, fans and colleagues — including writers, artists and editors alike — all converged on Friday to pay their respects and to celebrate the life of this kind soul. It was a very heartwarming scene, to say the least. Even though I missed much of the service, I’m glad to have been a part of this outpouring of love for the man, with whom my path was lucky to have crossed. Somewhere out there, I’m sure ‘Ringo was smiling. Thanks for all the adventures, Mike!

    Comment from Erin Moseley
    Time: August 20, 2007, 6:32 am

    Hi Jeff,
    It was really nice to see you and Rich on Friday. I think the service really honored Mike in great way and everyone sharing their stories was really nice. I have so many great memories of Mike and the “Artamus Studio” guys. Moving away from Ohio and living in Hillsborough made me a little homesick, however, seeing all of you everyday at Lu-e-g’s, Bodyworks, Chuck/Marc parties.. and becoming friends with all of you are memories that I will never forget. Mike and I had a nice, special relationship that I will treasure forever. Hope to keep in touch with you and would love to see pictures of your children.
    Take care!

    Comment from Rich
    Time: August 20, 2007, 8:53 am

    Hey Parker,

    Yeah, we would have LOVED to have had you there at the pub afterwards as we were sharing stories and passing around some more pictures of the good ol’ days with Mike. And yeah, I like to think Mike was right there with us laughing his ass off at moments.

    When you know when you’re heading back to NC, lets make sure we do get together at Bandito’s, eh?

    Comment from Parker
    Time: August 20, 2007, 11:00 am

    Erin, thanks- I’ll be writing!

    Rich, Karl and I were certain we were going to miss that flight for a while, and we were already looking forward to heading back to the bar. Because I wanted to hear and tell some off-color stories that won’t be shared online! Again, your spoken piece was terrific. Talk to you soon.