News arrived to me on Monday, February 22nd that Ray Welsh suddenly passed away over the weekend. We had been with Ray the week before at an investment committee meeting for ECS, where he had served with distinction for many years. Reading the obituaries this week, one note’s that not only did ECS lose a mentor and good friend, but so did The Bancroft School, The University of Pennsylvania, the Salvation Army, and the community at large.
Ray was a wise and kind man. We will not see his likes again anytime soon. His wisdom, grace, philanthropy, leadership, and energy all set the standard for performance in a world lacking for these attributes. Having met Ray, one was touched by his focus, and, more often than not, one was called to service at his request.
I have been thinking about the meaning of a life well lived these day. With the passing of Ian and Jane McNeill in December and now Ray, both good friends and in their own ways community leaders – and volunteers in the original sense of freely giving of oneself in the service of others – one can see some common threads.
Support for causes that demonstrate results, do good, and change lives. Support for causes both with time, with talent, and with treasure and do so quietly and thoughtfully. Support for causes with the courage, convection, and the will to take a position and lead by example. To champion those in need and to give voice to those who have no voice. Finally, to act with both grit and grace to be kind to the strangers among us and to respect the dignity of every human being in all that we do.
I have read that a life well lived is a life lived well. I have been blessed to know all three of these individuals and to know deeply the works that they were invested in. Legacy is about the work done and the future work that it inspires. In the case of Ray, Ian and Jane their legacy is secure. Our challenge now is to carry on the work and the examples of a life well lived.
There is no higher calling than the service to others. That is a life lived well.