Stories By Pat Saign

“If someone asks to buy me a drink and I turn it down, I obviously didn’t understand the question”. Marty Ruberry

He was rarely the funniest man in the room, but easily the one that could make you smile and laugh better than anyone.

Marty was a great friend for almost 50 years, in my wedding, and Uncle Marty to my kids. Our paths first crossed when he arrived in Sunnyvale and I was just leaving the Recreation Department in Sunnyvale. We became instant friends in the early 70’s, played just about every sport together or against each other, had many many final finals, enjoyed multiple 10-12 hour rounds/days/nights of golf, and enjoyed new, old, and common friends annually.

How can I even pick just a few stories from the many? So here is “one day” I remember that was typical Marty, the leader of men.

We attended the NRPA Convention (parks & recreation) in Washington DC together. We decided to attend the opening general session at which Margaret Mead was the keynote speaker and got there early to get good seats up front and on the aisle. Ten minutes into her speech Marty turned to me and asked if I was ready to go. I nodded and we turned left and began our exit out of the full auditorium. As we exited we noted Margaret had stopped speaking. The exit took forever and she only continued once we hit the door. For the next three days people would point us out as the ones that walked out on Margaret Mead.

That day was far from over as one of our “to do’s” in DC was to run out to Arlington and visit the JFK Memorial. Yes, Marty was once a good runner and a 5-6 mile jog was no problem for him. Upon our arrival we asked directions to the flame and headed out through the cemetery. Soon we came upon a funeral in session with lots of black cars and military uniforms. Marty thought we should run around the cars so as not to disturb anyone. After running past a few cars we heard HALT! HALT! from two of the uniformed officers. Marty said he would take care of this and approached the two guards. 

They talked and talked and talked. Upon his return Marty went on and on that one of the guard’s bothers had gone to Brother Rice in Chicago (Marty’s high school). I asked him if we could now proceed and Marty said they advised us to stand quietly over by the cars. After a few long minutes, Marty started side stepping away from the cars and guards and then said to “start running”. As we ran passed a few more cars we heard HALT! HALT! Marty said “run faster” and we finally escaped his new friends and eventually ended up safe at the memorial. Long day and not even one Cuba Libre yet!

As Marty always reminded us “You really have to work hard in life at not having a good time!” We will miss all the good times with Marty, but life will never be quite the same without his empirical wisdom, humor, and friendship. Thanks Marty for a half century of fun & friendship. We all hope to see you again. Love you, ps


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