An Unconventional Memorial Service

Several months ago, we lost an elder here at Riverview and they have been greatly missed. He was a man who was well known by many, and known by all for his great love for basketball. He particularly loved high school basketball. In fact, he loved high school basketball so much that he had amassed a nearly unbelievable streak–for the last 54 years of his life, he attended the boys “Sweet 16” High School State Basketball Tournament at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky.

For the past few years, I personally had the privilege of being part of this wonderful journey to help keep his streak alive. He had become such a fixture at the state tournament, that everyone knew him and everyone looked for him. I knew that this year would not be the same. It was the first time in 55 years that Perry wouldn’t be there. That didn’t seem right to me.

I was blessed with the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful man’s funeral service when he passed, but since then I’ve also been planning a memorial service for him. It was kind of an unconventional memorial service, but very fitting if you knew him. To honor him, we decided to keep his streak alive. I designed some t-shirts, we gathered up a group of elders who love basketball, and we journeyed from our home in Prestonsburg to Rupp Arena for the “Perry Jones Memorial Sweet 16 Trip.”

It was a great trip and a great experience for the elders, but the greatest moment for me personally was the moment we got off the bus. Two men immediately looked at our shirts and approached us. These men, like most everyone that journeys to Rupp for the Sweet 16 each year, knew Perry and commented on how cool it was that we were keeping his streak alive.

At Riverview, our motto is “honoring our community one elder at a time” and when we really form relationships with these individuals we can do things like this, not only in life, but even beyond. The joy is in the journey, and the journey continues!

Phillip Ramey, Director of Spirituality
Certified Eden Educator/Eden Mentor


Click HERE for a story I wrote about Perry a few years ago.