Jordan Mencher’s Celebration of Life

**Transcript:**

**Welcome and good afternoon.** It’s really good to see all of you here at the Helena Avenue Theater to commemorate Jordan Menure and celebrate his earthly journey of 92, almost 93 years. I’m Jan Jamruska Wilson. Pamela is my sister; I’m the oldest.

Jordan and I were good friends as well as in-laws during the last 40 years. I’m not sure when Jordan started calling me “sis,” but it was a tribute to how our lives wove together through countless gatherings and activities, celebrating in good times and supporting each other in times that tested us and our family. We were family.

Jordan and I took numerous writing classes together, through which I got a deeper understanding of Jordan the man. I appreciated his intellect, his talent, his compassion, his sense of humor, and his vitality, so evident in his writing. Jordan was a great storyteller.

I would like to call your attention to the table on the stage to your right. Pamela has lovingly constructed this memorial table that offers you visual touchstones of important aspects of Jordan’s life. There’s the armed services flag awarded to Jordan for his service in the US Army from 1955 to 1958. He served overseas in France and Germany.

Jordan loved the seashore. He made countless visits to the beach along the East Coast and in Florida. The sculpture of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse depicts his favorite lighthouse among the many that he had visited. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse also inspired a song that Jordan wrote, “A Toast to the Hatteras Ghost,” and you’ll hear that sung by Jordan’s granddaughter Summer later in the program.

The painting of the Southwest motif and the dream catcher bespeak Jordan’s deep connection to Native American traditions. He was a close friend, more like a brother, with Pete Katcha, the spiritual leader of the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico. Jordan would visit Taos Pueblo several times a year to join Pete in prayers and ceremonies.

Foremost, the piano music was Jordan’s heart and blood and certainly evoked his spirit and passion. Jordan is with us today as the piano holds his cremains on the podium. On this shelf right here, you’ll see a sculpture of a cat. The cat’s name is Emily. It looks just like Emily, Jordan and Pamela’s cat. Emily is still with us, and she lives in Jordan and Pamela’s house. She sits in Jordan’s chair, waiting for him to come. There is another lighthouse sculpture and a seashell. Jordan loved the seashore. The last item on the shelf is a crystal. Jordan believed in the healing powers of crystals, in the esoteric, in reincarnation, and visitations to Earth by beings from other worlds. We shared many speculative conversations about a great many subjects. We were never at a loss for something to talk about.

A warm welcome to his family who traveled from Oregon and from Colorado to be here today—his children Ben, Joya, Stephanie, and his granddaughter Summer and her daughter Lilia, Jordan’s great-granddaughter. We are missing his daughter Roseanne and his son Vincent, who are unable to be with us today. We look forward to spending this time with you as we remember your dad, Jordan. Stories of raising you and spending special times with you, and many stories of your beach visits when you lived in Washington DC would always make me laugh and smile.

And a warm welcome to the members of the family that he married into and all of you friends that live here in Montana and have come from elsewhere. I’m sure we all have many stories of good times spent visiting, camping, and fishing in Montana and Wyoming, and at numerous gatherings here in Helena and in Montana City and at the River Ranch on the banks of the Missouri River.

Jordan was a happy and contented guy, especially when he was with Pamela, his wife and soulmate of 40 years; happy when he was composing and performing his own music; happy when he was listening to the music of the great classical composers and his favorite performing symphonic orchestras; when he talked to and spent time with family and friends; and happy when he sat on his porch with the sun warming him as he watched the Prickly Pear Creek flow by with birds singing and the occasional deer ambling through the front yard. Every day was filled with love and laughter. He greeted every day with curiosity and anticipation, even on workdays or those days of day-to-day activities and responsibilities.

You’ll gain more insight into Jordan’s life and pursuits by reading the memorial program. It contains his obituary and a website address that offers a well-rounded perspective of Jordan’s life and accomplishments. But don’t read that now. I’m an ex-teacher, so you know I always expect you to do what I’m referring you to, but don’t do it now because a picture is worth a thousand words, and it is said that once something has been put to music, it is easy to remember and difficult to forget. We intend to lead you through Jordan’s life through music and pictures and testimonials over the next hour. We hope these bring back to you memories of Jordan and how he may have enriched your life.

To begin, we’ve asked his son Ben to share memories that he has of Jordan, and if he would come up right now, that would be wonderful. Thank you.

**Ben:**

Hello, I’m Benjamin, second son of the first father. Yes, so my other siblings are here: my younger sister Joya—Rosanne isn’t here—and Stephanie, and my daughter is Summer, and my granddaughter Lilia. I’m so grateful that all of you have come here to honor my father.

He was a larger-than-life human being. You know, as I thought about the kind of human he was, I work in the medical field and work with people of all ages, from little infants all the way to people living into their 90s. My dad was born and bred from an era that we’re losing, and it’s hard to see that. He was a sort of Renaissance man, you know, dipped into a lot of things—everything from opera to hardcore football on Sundays, watching the Washington Redskins, which was his passion, to being a ping pong champion in the Army. He knew a little bit about everything and was an expert on quite a few things as well.

One of the things that really, as a son of his, I feel very grateful for is his spiritual connection. He always brought that to the home, as well as his music and his love of nature—so many things that, you know, so many children and people that I see maybe didn’t get that in their home, but we were very lucky to walk with him day by day into that realm.

You know, one of the things I believe, kind of like he did, I think he and I ended up believing very similarly in a lot of ways. It’s not because he told me, but you know, you feel certain things in your heart, right? There is more than this realm. So for me, I firmly believe he’s smiling with his little twinkle in his eyes, watching us right now, just getting a kick out of this. For him, you know, life was so… He could get mad, I can tell you, and he was a built, strong man, especially when he was young, but there was a twinkle in his eye and a joy to be here on this planet. There was a perspective of humor, and it’s very nice to have.

If we could just come together for a second and just kind of feel the energy, I’m going to just say a kind of prayer. This is something that kind of speaks to that as well. It goes like this, if you’d like:

**Ben’s Prayer:**

*Shimmering, a dim enchanted dreaming, a shining veil of light envelops us. Behind it, little angels work, whose mighty streaming sends strength to us and gives our feet firm ground. I love the sun’s warm light, so gold and fair. I love the sun’s warm rays; they gleam and sparkle everywhere.*

He was a man of song. In daily life, we’d be around with my father—you know, you could be at the grocery store or something, and this is true—this guy who happened to be my father would start singing in the grocery store, talking opera, whatever he wanted. I don’t know if it was to embarrass us or what, but as little kids, we were just… But he believed that life should be more like this, that it should be like a musical. Come on, let’s wake up! Let’s celebrate who we are. Let’s come from our heart; let’s connect from our spirits.

We would like to start with a song. Summer and I, his beautiful granddaughter, will celebrate some of the music we used to do in our living room. Hopefully, you’ll sing along on the chorus.

**Song: “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver**

Thank you very much, Ben. That was really wonderful, really great to share that with you. We have some more fond memories of your dad that I hope Stephanie will be able to share with us. There were some poems, I think, that Jordan had written that you were going to share with us too. Come on up. Stephanie is Jordan’s youngest daughter.

**Stephanie:**

Hello, everyone. It’s like a tough act to follow my brother there. He was awesome. Good afternoon to everybody. My name is Stephanie, or Sugar Lump as my dad called me. I miss hearing that nickname. I’m Jordan’s youngest daughter, and just thank you so much for being here to help us celebrate our dad’s life.

I’m going to start off with reading one of his poems. It’s called “We Will See.”

**Poem: “We Will See”**

*Energy is in the air.

Well, actually, it’s everywhere. So what you say that spoils your day? The truth is there; you just don’t care. Some say I’m wasting my energy. We’ll see. It’s said we can’t create it. We also can’t destroy it. The problem, as I stated, is how we now deploy it. Am I wasting my energy? We’ll see. I’ll go on suggesting with the positive attesting, reiterating one of our cognitive conditions. Negating the negative yields positive positions. Are you truly convinced that I waste my energy? We will see.*

My dad was a really talented, multifaceted man, as you all know because you knew him. He was a singer, a pianist, a guitar player, and he really poured his soul into his music. His compositions weren’t just notes on a piece of paper; they were really melodies that resonated with the depths of his being. Music was his way of expressing joy, sorrow, and everything in between. That was just his greatest form of expression.

Beyond music, what he really passed on to me was his profound love for the natural world. Ben touched on all of these things too. He loved the ocean, collected seashells as treasures from all of his travels, and he passed a huge collection of those seashells on to my daughter. We often sit and go through them, and it’s just so special to think that one person traveled to all those different oceans and picked up each one of those shells. It’s really a magnificent collection. His love for nature instilled the same in me, just an appreciation for the world around us.

For me, my very favorite memory of my dad is from when I was probably about six years old. He would take me on a lot of walks around our neighborhood. In the morning, we would walk down this path, and he would show me, “Hey, there’s this flower, and it opens up in the morning. I’ll take you back at night, and it’ll be closed.” I was like, “No way! No, that’s not true.” We would go, and he would show me the morning glories were open in the morning, and then we’d go back at dusk, and they’d be closed. For me, it wasn’t about the flowers; they were just moments of really deep connection with my dad and learning about nature. That memory really shaped a lot of who I am today, just that small ritual. I’m really grateful for things like that and that I remember those things.

My dad and I shared a lot of adventures together with my older siblings too—horseback riding in the mountains, playing frisbee and football in the yard, countless hikes. My dad and I, when I was with him, would go on so many walks around Crown Hill Lake in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. The water was so calming, and he really loved that spot. I grew to love it too. It was our kind of time alone to just talk about things, whatever came up. It was really special.

As I reflect on my dad’s life in the last several months, six months or so since he passed, it’s really made me think of all the things that I’ve inherited from him, and it’s more than I ever realized. His love for music, nature, and adventure has really shaped the person that I’ve become. It’s comforting to find new things about myself as I think about him that I never realized. Even today, I was like, “Oh, the lighting is purple. It’s so beautiful.” Pamela said, “Well, purple and teal were his colors.” I was like, “Those are my two favorite colors: turquoise and teal.” I didn’t know that, but obviously, somewhere in me, I knew that.

So I’m going to end with a poem of his that really resonates with me. It’s called “Musing with Music.”

**Poem: “Musing with Music”**

*I hear his music and I cry. Memories of a time gone by. Need I puzzle? Would I learn that his message makes me yearn to back time? Relive the joys of a simple life that knew no noise. I continue to take in the beautiful notes, memories of sunshine and little toy boats. The meadow surrounds me with all of its green. I surely was there in a place so serene. But we can’t turn back time. Relive the joys of that simple life that knew no noise. So I turn up the volume and fill my head with Robert Schumann to waken the dead and rekindle memories that never did die. They’ll connect me forever to that time gone by.*

Thus, I can traverse time and relive the joys of that tranquil time that knew no noise. I think that poem is so beautiful. When I hear the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, John Denver, and Cat Stevens, it brings me back to you and just how much I love you, Dad.

Thank you, everybody, for being here.

**Now we’re going to hear from Jordan’s granddaughter Summer, who you heard singing with Ben earlier, and also Lilia. She will sing a song that Papa Jordan wrote connected to the lighthouse they were talking about earlier called “A Toast to the Hatteras Ghost.” The ghost of the Hatteras coast, of course. At some point, we might raise our imaginary glasses and in playful fashion. Please, you might already know the song; feel free to join in.**

**Song: “A Toast to the Hatteras Ghost”**

**Hello everyone, I’m Jeff Wilson, Jordan’s nephew. I get the pleasure of sharing with you some history and thoughts around Jordan’s relationship with music. Not that we haven’t gotten to see that in everyone so far, but a little bit more context for you, and of course, some music to help contextualize that.**

Jordan was raised in a family with music. His mother was a concert pianist and often sat three-year-old Jordan on the family’s grand piano to sing while she played show tunes and popular songs of the 1930s for family and friends, including cousin Murray Menure, the composer and lyricist who had written the Looney Tunes theme song, “Merrie Melodies.” During the Second World War, to help the war effort, Jordan tended victory gardens, gathered aluminum, and sang patriotic songs on the radio in Washington DC.

Growing up in a huge clan, Jordan told stories about singing opera with his 21 first cousins while they all washed dishes and cleaned up after frequent family dinners and get-togethers. In college, he ushered at the Carter Barron Amphitheater in DC and met many famous performers and musicians of the day in the 1950s and 60s.

After starting his own family, Jordan wrote songs for his children and began composing and arranging classical music. His favorite instruments were the piano and guitar. When he moved to Denver in the mid-1970s, he joined the Swallow Hill Folk Music Group and often played guitar and sang with local musicians in countless jam sessions.

In 1984, he met and married Pamela, and together they created the Roving Stage Theater Company. With the Roving Stage, Pamela wrote family-oriented children’s plays, and Jordan wrote music and lyrics for them. Their very first play was “The Frog Princess” in 1986, and we have an early version of the songs that he wrote in a recording, including him, his son Ben, daughter-in-law Kim, and Pamela. Let’s hear those songs now.

**Song from “The Frog Princess”**

Together, Jordan and Pamela toured with their company throughout the Denver metro area and performed these plays for many years. His favorite role was Pirate Pete in “The Haunted Mine at Lonesome Creek.” We have a recording of him singing.

**Song: “The Haunted Mine at Lonesome Creek”**

Jordan particularly delighted in playing music and singing with his children, Ben and Joya, and their friends. When his granddaughter Summer came along, he spent many hours playing and singing with her. As a kid, I was particularly partial to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and he composed a song for me called “A Song for Cowabunga,” which unfortunately I don’t have to share with you today, but it was a beautiful song.

Throughout his life, Jordan composed and wrote scores of songs, musical compositions, show tunes, jingles, and theme songs, and often sang and performed in Roving Stage performances and other local theater productions in Denver. His style ranged from folk to classical to country. Here in Montana, at the age of 89, I had the absolute treat of working with him to record his composed theme song for the Montana Playwrights Network radio show, “Montana’s At Work.” At 91 years young, he composed his final song, a country western tune called “Game Over,” which I’d like to perform for you now, accompanied by a recording of Jordan himself on the keyboard.

**Song: “Game Over”**

On a personal note, I had the good fortune of meeting Jordan before even having a remembrance of having done so, as early as my teenage years and as late as just last year. I cherished the memories of sharing a piano bench with him and exploring music together. The example he set and the stories he shared were undoubtedly factors that steered me toward my own pursuit of music and musical theater, ultimately landing me a degree in music theory and composition. To me, several things stand out about his style, like his grandiose endings, but notably, his use of music as a vehicle for storytelling. You’re coached as a young actor that the reason to have a song at all is that words simply won’t do by themselves—that the strength of the feelings simply cannot be conveyed without breaking out in song. As a person, Jordan embodied that passion, and I feel it in every piece

of music of his that I’ve ever heard.

So many of us in this room have literally had the course of our lives changed by Jordan’s selfless sharing of music and story, and I, for one, couldn’t be more grateful for his love and the passion he helped instill in me. Jordan’s joyful spirit was made of music, and he shared it with everyone he met throughout his life. He lighted many hearts and enriched other people’s lives in countless ways, with many fascinating stories, endless puns, and boundless music. He always offered kindness and love toward everyone he met. Love you, Uncle Jordan.

**Thank you, Jeff. I have lots of memories of Christmas times where we would all go out and meet the river, and we would go caroling, and Jordan was there. Pamela was there. All of us were there. It was a magical moment to share that time together and with other people.**

**I’d like to introduce my youngest son, Joel Wilson. He’d like to share some memories that he has of Jordan as well.**

**Joel:**

Hi, I’m Joel, brother of Jeff here and nephew of Jordan. I’d like to thank Mom and Jeff for the words in introducing Jordan’s kind of theatrical and musical talent, but I want to talk about Jordan’s other musical pursuits, namely his fondness for creating pieces for the people in his life. There’s one particular song that I’m going to play for you, that was recorded on a cassette sent to our family, the Wilsons, in the mid-90s when I was about five years old. At the time, Jordan took note of my love for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and created a recording of a song he wrote for me, aptly titled “Peanut Butter for Joley.”

I don’t know if it’s his most well-known hit, but it’s at least his most played hit. So let’s take a listen here, and I’m sure the melody as well as the chorus might get stuck in your head, so you’re welcome to sing along as well.

**Song: “Peanut Butter for Joley”**

Even to this day, “Peanut Butter for Joley” is still stuck in my head. I repeat it in times when I need a reminder of the care and compassion in my life that I received from my friends and family, especially Jordan. I find it really amazing that even with such a long list of accomplishments and a plethora of accolades, Jordan still had his finger on the pulse of the people in his life. He recognized and engaged with the hobbies and interests of even a five-year-old kid who didn’t know left from right.

Songs like “Peanut Butter for Joley” or “Cowabunga” for Jeff—these must have been wild to a guy born in the 1920s, but he still captured the spirit of the songs he created for us. This ultimately demonstrates Jordan’s ability to genuinely show his love and compassion for others through his actions and the things he made for us, rather than just the words he said, even though he was never really at a loss for words.

Jordan possessed a certain and unique ability to draw out the best in people, recognize their interests, and engage with them in a way unique only to Jordan. I cherish this recording and Jordan’s presence in my life through this song that will forever echo in my head. I count myself blessed that Pamela found Jordan and brought him back to the family and integrated him into our lives. Even if I collectively referred to them both as “Uncle Pam and Jordan,” it proves that the blood of the covenant is certainly thicker than the water of the womb.

Jordan taught me lessons about what it means to be a good man, an accomplished but humble individual, and a valuable and contributing member to a family that he married into. When I think of Jordan, it’s always accompanied by feelings of love and light. I’m sure everyone here feels the light in the room right now. To wrap up, I want to say that I love you very much, Jordan, and I’d like to thank you all.

**Thank you, Joel. I’d like to ask my brother Steve to come up. He’ll be delivering the eulogy.**

**Steve:**

Oh, it’s a good thing I made it here without tripping. Jordan R. Menure was born on April 18, 1931, in New York City to Emmanuel and Bertha Menure. Early in his life, the family moved to Washington, DC. Jordan’s experiences in life were far-reaching. His military career landed him in Landstuhl, Germany, where he worked as a medical laboratory specialist, a gateway to his vocation as a scientist. After his enlistment in the military, he earned a doctorate degree in medical microbiology fields. For a time, he was employed as a USDA microbiologist researcher. He moved on to work with NASA, where he was instrumental in developing clean rooms used in conjunction with space exploration.

His next stop was Denver, Colorado, where he established and supervised a laboratory for the detection of genetic diseases in newborns, servicing a four-state region. His professional career resulted in profound contributions to the medical and research fields.

While in Denver, Jordan met and married the love of his life, Pamela, my sister, who’s younger than I. This union lasted 40 years. Jordan is best remembered for his enthusiasm for life, and I think we’ve heard a lot of that. His friendliness opened the doors to his many varied life experiences. A few of his advocations encompassed time spent in various pursuits: fishing, camping, professional bingo player, ping pong championship, and much more.

His involvement with the Colorado Rockies baseball and Avalanche hockey professional sports teams as an usher for home games further exemplified his passion and affection for people. His high energy initiatives earned him the title of “Usher Man” from the fans, along with accolades and awards from the two sports organizations. Jordan’s love of life was constantly on display through his laughter. He was quick-witted. When opportunities arose, he pounced with a pun. If you responded in kind, he was right on with another. He truly mastered the art of the pun.

He was also a very good listener. His interests and curiosities were a big part of this skill. With these important attributes, he was there to share his insights and experiences. If you took the time to partake in conversation with him or confide in him, you would have benefited from his valuable insights.

Have you noticed the structure and function of the many facets of a diamond? After the stone is cut and the facets are shaped, light enters the diamond from all sides and the refracted light is concentrated and reflected through the top of the stone. In many ways, Jordan was a diamond worthy of reflection into the many facets of his life. Jordan departed, having enriched the lives of all who met him.

**Thank you.**

**We have created a memorial slideshow of Jordan, and during the slideshow, Summer will share a song with us. This was one of Jordan’s favorite songs.**

**Song: “Amazing Grace”**

**Thank you very much, Summer. You’ve heard from the family and created an idea for you of what Jordan’s life has been over his 92 years on this earth. Now, we’d like to hear some reflections from the friends and family. We do have some people who have asked if they could speak, and if it’s alright, Chip, I see you. Could you come up, please? This is Chip Tutor.**

**Chip:**

So the first time I saw Jordan, I was walking around our loop in our condominiums, and I see this guy sitting on his back porch looking at the creek. I hadn’t met him or seen him or anything, and we had just moved in. I thought, oh, maybe I should go over and talk to somebody. After watching all of this today, I can see why the guy was telling me this stuff. He was so proud of his family, so proud of his grandkids. I was just… We were just talking about grandkids, this and that, and other things. I’m sitting here, and I got spooked watching that little girl with her mom. I’m just going, my God, that’s probably the best, neatest song I’ve ever heard.

I heard all these songs, recorded them on my phone, listened to them. The guy had it all. I was always honored. My God, this guy is a Ph.D. I was lucky to get out of high school. I am overwhelmed again, like I always was when I went to visit him, by what’s going on in that mind down there. He took the poem in the program that Pamela made. He read that to me. We were having a pretty typical Chip-Jordan session: laughing, giggling, listening to his recordings, telling stories, and just having a good time, which is what I always did with Jordan.

Thinking of that moment when he read that poem, it just scares me. You can get an idea of the depth you were messing with when you messed around with Jordan. He looks… He’s here. The guy laughed and everything. He would have loved that more than anything, that performance. He’d also get a kick out of watching me stumble around up here. The only thing that we ever actually got together on was that we like to walk. He was past the point of walking, past the point of tuning guitars, past the point of playing. I always just go, why am I so attracted to come over here and talk to this guy? What I realized was his attitude. I don’t have a story about Jordan we’re about to hear some, but I just want to tell you that the Navy Seals have a motto, “Embrace the suck.” When everything’s gone bad, when nothing is going to work,

when crap is going on, then you get into the middle of it and you live it. You take it on head-on. You never let anything push you back or mess with you.

Jordan was a living example of what those guys are talking about, and I’m really going to miss him just for that example. I’ve enjoyed it. It’s just like talking to Jordan again.

**Thank you, Chip. Those of you out there that still want to speak, you’re going to get a chance. We did have a special tribute come in from some friends of Jordan and Pamela’s, Christine and Richard Emer, from Pennsylvania. They’re unable to be here, but they sent us a tribute. We’ve asked Pearl Allan if she would share that with us.**

**Pearl:**

Jordan, too soon to say goodbye. Richard and I had returned from Montana last summer after having visited Pamela and Jordan. It was not the length of the visit but the depth of the friendship we brought home with us. Many years and many memories of those years were valued. As a writer, I should be able to pour out the words I want to say, but I find myself almost unable to express what this essence was of Jordan that delighted and bewitched us over the years. I cannot think of him as separate from Pamela. They came into our lives as a vibrant couple working hard to make light of the theater. I began to act in their princess plays that went from venue to venue to entertain the children, bright with the music Jordan composed. Then Jordan began to play the king, a king anyone might love to rule a kingdom born of imagination and joy.

However childlike his heart was, Jordan was an old soul. He knew lives beyond those presently lived. He often talked about these memories that he brought with him into this life. With Jordan, it wasn’t new age to feel this press of other lives. He had distinctive moments he shared of those past times. However old his many existences were, he also lived in the present. He was deeply proud of Pamela. His love made him shed his old skin of science and put on many hats of the theater world so they could make a life together. His music, his writing, his direction, his acting were just a few of the newer hats he wore.

I could go on the length of “War and Peace” with thoughts. There are a multitude of stories. Today, however, is reserved for what seems the final chapter, although the lives of those he touched go on to include his influence. Too soon for goodbyes. Then I won’t say them. I will keep visiting memories in my heart along with Richard. Thank you, Jordan, for your friendship.

Christine and Richard Emer
May 7, 2024

**Thank you, Pearl. We have another tribute that came from a very close friend of Jordan and Pamela, Margie Jenkins, from Florida. She sent in this tribute, and my sister Jenny Jamruska Meisner is going to read it.**

**Jenny:**

Hello there, my dear sweet, lovable Jordan. I wanted so much to be here today to honor your memory and to hear and feel the love from all your friends and family. How did you touch my heart? When I think of you, my mind’s image is a full-face smile with big bright eyes and, for some reason, a blue shirt. Perhaps the shirt is a symbol of your beautiful spirit. You were so special to me in our friendship. Just your mere presence brought joy and a safe place to land with who I am. There is not a soul here in this place today that hasn’t experienced that peace in their friendship with you.

I admired your confidence, your conviction, and your intensity when telling me your different stories and sometimes their different synchronicities. Your inner knowing and understanding of nature and the role you played in your life here on Earth and mine—so many memories. Our mutual love of cats and the joy they brought to both of our lives. John and I staying in your warm and comfortable home while you and Pamela traveled, encouraging me to play your piano as if I actually knew how. The creativity that was within me just poured out.

Some of my fondest memories are times we spent in your kitchen, sitting in the booth, both of us in awe of one another and our unique personal adventures. I loved the fact that you were a microbiologist, something I had always wanted to go to college for. I loved hearing all your stories about your experiments and the results, the mysteries you sometimes experienced. Your theatrical narration was so vivid and real that I felt as if I lived it with you. I was there.

I was able to live my dream vicariously through your stories, and for that, I love you. Playing bingo with you and Pamela—I absolutely treasure those memories. The hours and hours and hours we spent talking on the phone, sharing each of our unique understandings of life’s purpose or our life experiences since we last talked. You were always smiling, and I felt it on the phone when talking to you. Smiles, of course, are contagious and lighten the heart.

My brother Sterling left me many gifts, and this gift of the friendship with you, Jordan, has been one of my most treasured gifts. I miss you; however, I will always have you right here in my heart’s memory. You will always remain a bright light in my heart.

**Are there any other family or friends that would like to give a tribute?**

**Kelly:**

My name is Kelly Csell. I have known Jordan for 27 years. I was introduced to him in 1997 as a student in Pamela’s theater program at Red Rocks Community College. Now, I realize I haven’t known him as long as some of you have, and I don’t know him as well as some of you have, but let me tell you, 27 years has given me a lot.

When I first met him, he was the husband of the department head, Pamela. He had stuff to do with the theater; I understood that. Didn’t really mean anything to me. Then we were doing intermissions together. I had gotten to a point in the program that I was no longer a student; I was Pamela’s assistant and the theater manager. So we got to do intermissions together, which meant we had plenty of time before intermission to be able to talk, and that’s when things started happening. We would talk about children because I had four young children. We worked with children; we both worked with children. He talked about his music; we talked about theater, of course.

Then, when it came to the actual intermission, we invented a game. We would set up the table and have different flavors of soda, and we would guess, according to the number of audience members, how many glasses of ice we were actually going to need. We literally got it down to within one or two glasses of ice that we had to throw away, which meant then we didn’t throw it away. We filled it with the soda we wanted, and we drank it. Then we also adapted that to how many of each individual kind of soda we were going to use. We got pretty good at this game.

So that went on for a couple of years. As the years went by, I started cleaning their house. That was when the real trouble began. I have listened to family members—I mean, I believe it or not, in 27 years, I’ve gotten to know a lot of you that I have never met. I won’t go into detail, but I do know secrets. But I started cleaning their house, and to me, their house was a museum. It was Pamela and Jordan’s life. I don’t know how many of you ever visited their house in Wheat Ridge. If you did, you would understand. Some of the relics are here; I cleaned them. They have special memories for me. Some of them not so good because they were really hard to clean.

But the trouble began when a job that should have taken three or four hours, when Pamela was home, took three or four hours. When Pamela was running errands, it took five or six hours. Then on the days Pamela was at the theater working, it took eight hours to clean their house. My lunch would turn from 15-20 minutes into an hour and a half to two hours. Pamela would come home, and hopefully, I was gone, but there were a lot of times that she would have to come in and say, “Jordan, Kelly has work to do. Let her be.” Now, part of it was my fault. I would ask questions, and as we have heard, Jordan didn’t give simple answers. Jordan didn’t have simple explanations. We talked about everything. One thing we never did do was sing. I never got to sing with him, which is not a bad thing. I heard him a lot. He, of course, played for me a lot of his songs, but I never got to sing with him, and that’s okay.

One of the things that I’ve learned with Jordan is our relationship was very unique. He was older than my father, but he would always tell me, “I will give you advice. You can take it or leave it. It won’t hurt my feelings. If it’s good for you, use it. If not, discard it.” My dad tells me, “My advice is as good as it cost you—nothing.” They were very close in a lot of the things they gave me. The other thing too was Jordan wore suspenders. My dad wore suspenders. Jordan has helped me shop for suspenders for my dad.

I moved to Helena for a couple of years, so we were able to have a relationship together as friends that didn’t have to do with house cleaning. It kind of had to do with the theater, but not really because by

that time, our friendship had moved to I would go and spend time with him to spend time with him. My boyfriend, Fitz, and I would go over, have dinner with them, play cards, do what friends do.

Three years ago, I moved to Venita, Oregon, so that one-on-one time was gone. We still had the relationship. We still called each other. I knew, though, that if I was going to talk to Jordan, I had to clear my day for two to three hours to be able to talk with him. He always got on the phone, and a lot of the times, the first thing out of his mouth was, “So, how’s your dad?” My dad had some really interesting medical things going on, and Jordan was always fascinated by that, so he always wanted to know.

One of the stories I did want to tell was when my grandson, while cleaning their house, sometimes I would bring my grandson over to visit with Jordan and Pamela. One time we went, and Jordan said, “Do you want to see my seashells?” My grandson said, “Sure.” He was five years old. We go downstairs, and Jordan goes, “Do you want some seashells?” Caden goes, “Okay.” Jordan goes, “Pick some.” So Caden picks one. Jordan goes, “Well, do you want any more?” “No, this is fine.” Jordan smiled and then told me a story about one time when he was little, somebody offered him a handful of raisins, and he took one and said, “I only took one because that’s all I needed.” That was kind of what Jordan did with everybody. He gave you what you needed. He took what he needed—no more, no less. He always wanted to make sure that everybody was special.

He made me feel special. Hearing your stories, I’m going, “Oh, I wasn’t really… I mean, he did it with everybody.” He made me feel special in the moment. He made me feel special. And Stephanie, that seashell collection you got when they moved from Wheat Ridge to Montana? Guess who got the rest of it? I got the rest of the collection.

So there’s a lot that I really, really cherish about Jordan. There are three things specifically that he never made more strong to me than in every conversation we had. Although he would say, “I’ve already told you this story, haven’t I?” And every time he’d say that, I’m like, “Well, you may have, but tell me again,” because there are always new details, new information that I was getting. To be frank, I would forget sometimes if he told me this story three times previously.

He loved his wife, Pamela. He loved her with all his heart. He loved his family. He was so proud. I remember one time he was talking about Summer. We ended up spending an hour and a half Googling Summer and all of her accomplishments. Hence the reason Pamela would have to come in and say, “Jordan, Kelly has work to do.” He loved his friends. He made us all feel special. He gave you a reason to want to go back and talk with him. Yes, I miss him tremendously. Thank you.

**Thank you, Kelly. Anyone else would like to share a few words with us?**

**Sue:**

Hi, my name is Sue. I met Jordan and Pamela through the Montana Playwrights Network. Having absolutely no theater background whatsoever, I responded to a notice they had in the paper looking for people to come and do some readings of plays. I could read it and do that. I can do that. So I did a couple of those and got a lot of positive encouragement and support from both of them.

One time, Jordan said, “Hey, Sue, I’ve got this great play, and there’s a perfect part for you.” I didn’t know anything, so I said, “Oh, wow, Jordan. How flattering. Tell me more about it.” He tells me a little bit, and then he says, “Oh, it’s a musical.” Obviously, I did not grow up in his family—no musical talent whatsoever. I told him that, and I said, “I even have a brother-in-law who said, ‘You know, it’s kind of amazing that your family, all of you, when you sing a song, you sing it in multiple keys, and you don’t even know or care.’” I’m like, “That’s how we roll.”

So he says, “Well, just come to the rehearsal.” We go to the first rehearsal, and it’s with high school students who are talented and their acting coach who was talented. We get up on the stage, and Jordan sings a little melody or something, and he wants each one of us to repeat that melody. The first person does it. “Oh, yeah.” The next one, “Yeah.” Then it’s my turn, and Jordan goes, “Well…”

I freaking told him I couldn’t sing. What did he expect? At the end of the rehearsal, he says to no one in particular, “Anybody who wants a little more time with the music, come up to the house.” Clearly, he was talking about me. I all but moved in with Pamela and Jordan to work on these songs. Multiple songs. I had to sing a solo and then sing with the rest of the cast. He gives me the music on a recording that I can play when I walk the dog. I’m sure many, many people looked at me, singing sort of while walking the dog. I worked really hard, and as Chip said, he embraced the suck. He absolutely embraced the suck. Through a lot of work, through so much encouragement from Jordan, and I do believe some of that divine inspiration his family has said he believed in, I got through the play. It wasn’t horrible. I did kind of enjoy it. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I’ll never do it again. Thank God he’s gone, because ain’t nobody talking me into that ever again. As Kelly shared, he made me feel very special by referring to me through that character’s name for the rest of his life. That really touched me. Thank you.

**Thank you, Sue. Anybody else would like to share anything?**

**Robert:**

I don’t need to come down. You can hear me from here. My name is Robert. My mom lived next door to Pamela and Jordan. Thirteen years ago, I think they all moved to Stony Brook, and we met them. It just so happens that Pamela is in the theater; I came from the theater. We had mutual friends who were from Montana. Then I began to speak to Jordan, and Jordan said, “Well, you know, I was stationed in Landstuhl.” I said, “I was born in Landstuhl.” He had left a month or two before I was actually born in the hospital where he was working. I thought, “Well, this is interesting, this kind of connection here.” Worlds come together for a reason.

My mom passed four months after Jordan did. They were next door to each other, and I get emotional because of her passing being just recent. But to know that they were together and they talked to each other a lot meant the world to me. That feeling of his spirit passing through all of us is what I wanted to share. I knew for a reason that my family and my mom and dad ended up in that little spot, and part of it is Pamela and Jordan and all of you from Stony Brook.

**Thank you, Robert. Anyone else would like to share anything?**

**Thank you very much. At the reception, I hope that you’ll share more of your stories in a more informal way. We have one last song that we would like to play for you. It’s called “Time in a Bottle” by Jim Croce. I’ll give you some instructions for the reception right after the song.**

**Song: “Time in a Bottle”**

We hope that this photographic and musical journey has evoked times that you spent with Jordan. We hope you’ll continue to share your stories during the reception that immediately follows. I’d like to introduce to you our special guest, Steven Gors, who will be playing his original compositions during the reception. Steven, there he is. Please, when he’s at the piano, you might stop by and say hello to him. Thank you very much, Steven, for doing that for us.

We’re going to need about ten minutes to set up the dining room tables and chairs here in the theater. We’ll be eating here on the stage and at tables down here in front of the stage. In the meantime, please feel free to get up and explore the Helena Avenue Theater space. Bathrooms are located to your left, either down this hallway or through the lobby and straight on past the lounge to the next hallway. That’s where the bathrooms are located.

The reception menu features some of Jordan’s favorite foods. The reception is located in the green room, which is right through this door and the next door to your right, just off the stage down the hallway to your left. Many thanks to Pearl Allen and Mindy Peler for setting up the Helena Avenue Theater for Jordan’s memorial service and the family and friends that have also contributed and provided the food that you will find at the reception. Once you’ve had a chance to stretch your legs and attend the reception in the green room, please return to the theater to enjoy the food and conversation with family, friends, and neighbors, and Steven Gors’ music.

Please make sure that you sign the guest book if you haven’t already done that, and do take your program—you can read them now. On behalf of Pamela and Jordan’s family, we really

thank you for coming. It’s been really special to share this time with you all.