Remembering James P. Raspberry | A Family Man

Today, we buried another person from my paternal bloodline: retired Chicago police officer James P. Raspberry. He was known as "Uncle Jimmy" due to our age difference and his sibling-like relationship with my father, AB Raspberry-- his first cousin.

Uncle Jimmy died on June 6 from congestive heart failure. However, his life story is what intrigues people who never met him-- including Maureen O'Donnell from the Chicago Sun-Times. (Click the link above for her amazing obituary) 

Ms. O'Donnell was the perfect person to tell his story because she has a gift for analyzing the right details of someone's life after they have passed. One detail that caught her ear in phone interviews was Uncle Jimmy's stature. He was 6-foot-4 without shoes; with his police cap, he appeared much taller.

For me, the greatest thing about him was that we shared the same birthday: July 23.

He and his wife, Aunt Joan (pictured right), were married for over 57 years. During that time, their greatest accomplishment was being loving parents to their daughter Joni Jayne. 

According to others, his work with troubled youth on Chicago's West Side was what made him so great.

In his own family, he helped my siblings, cousins, and I experience the finer things in life. He believed in sharing what he had with others; he believed in family. 

Today, we kept that going. We shared love with one another and shared memories of how great he was. This Father's Day is going to be a bittersweet one because we won't be able to honor him physically. But we can rest assured that his spirit lives on and he will forever be in our memories.

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