Family and Friends of Noted Arts Adovate Celebrate His Life
"He took care of us. If we needed a ride, he drove us. And if we needed a meal, he fed us. And if we needed a drink, he mixed it himself."
Jason Beehler was Ray Hanley's assistant at the G-C-A-C for the past six years.
"And if we had problems with our pipes or flooding in our basement, he insisted that we stay at his house. Ray walked my mom down the aisle at my wedding. And I don't care what you read in the paper. That was Ray Handley," Beehler said.
Beehler illustrated what it was like to really know who Hanley was. He kept the audience laughing throughout his eulogy and spoke very fondly of his boss.
"The question people most often asked me, and still ask me, was what's it like to work for Ray? But when they said it, they said it sort of like, so what's it like to have a crippling, debilitating disease?," Beehler said.
Beehler said Hanley was like working for a child. He said Hanley always had to have his way and kept him cleaning up after him.
While there were many hugs and tears shed during Hanley's memorial service, laughter seemed to be the shared consolation. Every speaker recalled Hanley's work with the arts. But they also remembered his private side, including Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman who recalled a time that he and Hanley butted heads.
"And he looked me straight in the eye, and he said, mayor, your wrong. And we sparred around that table. And you know what, we never did agree. But when the meeting ended, Ray put his arm around my shoulder, and he said, mayor, come on, let's go over to my house, and let's go out and have some fun. And we did," Coleman recalled.
Also there were former prot g s. Neil Jacobs met Hanley during a concert and credits his accomplishments to Hanley's encouragement.
"He was instrumental for me to be an international performer, as far as participating in the artists exchange for Spain. He saw a concert of mine and invited me to represent Columbus in Spain studying gypsy music and performing in Spain. So I've always been indebted to him for his belief in me and recognition of my skills," Jacobs said.
Hanley would've turned 59 next week. He died after falling from a fifth floor balcony at the Miranova condominiums in downtown Columbus. An autopsy showed he had coronary artery disease which may have contributed to his fall.