Monday, May 17, 2010

John Michael Murto - Celebration of Life

John Michael Murto
(14 Mar 1946 - 11 May 2010)

Celebration of Life

Yesterday afternoon I drove sixty-eight miles to Boonsboro, Maryland. It was my first time to Middletown, where Roland Nelson lived, and to Boonsboro. I gained an even greater appreciation for just how difficult it must have been for everyone who lived out that far to commute to work on Capitol Hill.

The purpose of the trip was to attend the Celebration of Life for former co-worker, John Michael Murto (14 Mar 1946 - 11 May 2010) who worked on The Bill Digest when I did. The event was held at the American Legion. So many of John and Ellie's friends attended it was necessary to bring out more tables and chairs. I didn't try to count how many were there. I estimate there were over two hundred.

Near the door there was a book for the guests to sign. Along the wall several tables displayed photos and other memorablia such as membership cards. There was a copy of an article that appeared in The Library of Congress newsletter at the time Sarah joined John and Ellie to complete their family.

There was a computer driven photo show on a screen on the opposite wall.

I sat at a table next to the mayor of Boonsboro during the remembrance ceremony.

Mrs. Murto opened the ceremony by welcoming the attendees.

Three members of the American Legion did the military honors. First one of the men play the bugle. I couldn't tell if he really played or if they used a recording. Next they moved to the front of the room where they folded a United States flag that was laying across a table. After the folding ritual they presented the flag to Mrs. Murto.

A gentleman, whose name I didn't catch, said a long prayer that he had written for John. I found it quite moving.

After the prayer the guests were invited to partake of the food displayed beautifully on two tables, one for the meat to make sandwiches and one for the attractive and very tasty deserts. There was even one decorated in red, white, and blue.

Before going to get something to eat I spent a few minutes talking separately with both Ellie and Sarah. It was the first time I'd met them. I told Ellie that I had come as Roland Nelson's surrogate. Ellie said she'd like to remain on the Email lists.

When I got to the end of the food table I saw Bill Hamilton getting a couple of drinks. He was there with his wife, Mary. Bill made several trips to visit John during his illness. After Bill delivered a drink to Mary he came to the table where I was eating We talked about the visits to see John, about our health and a little about when Bill was a member of my Bill Digest programming team. Bill suggested that we meet for lunch sometime at The Red Lobster near my house. I wrote my new Email address on my business card and gave it to Bill so we can work out the details via Email. I'm reasonably certain that Bill and I were the only Library of Congress employees there.

Mr. Dickie
17/May/2010 13:52

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