Those of you who’ve been readers of Paradigms and Demographics for some time know I’ve posted articles from my friend Maury Siskel, which he signed as “Maury and Dog”. But these commentaries weren’t intended as articles to be published. He had a large e-mail list of friends and acquaintances to whom he sent out links to articles, jokes, cartoons and what I considered commentaries to express his views on some social issue or other. When I would ask him if I could take his thoughts and work it into an article in his name he always said yes, which pleased me very much as I thought highly of his views. Often times he would send me something that would trigger an article such as this one - Conclusions In The Face Of Reality!
Then there was his unfailing sense of humor, which resulted in Thoughts For the Day From Maury.
What pleased and surprised me was how thrilled he would be when I said I wanted to publish his thoughts. It appeared he thought highly of my work and what I was trying to accomplish.
I’m not a professional writer, nor am I formally trained in any of the things I discuss at length, including any field of science. In fact, I’m largely an autodidact who reads a lot of history. Having Maury think highly of my work, which occasionally he would share with his net of correspondents, was always flattering.
I’ve made my living as an exterminator for over 35 years and think of myself as a bug man with a lot of opinions, and I hope opinions that are well founded in reality and history. I believe Maury felt that way also, at least I hope he did.
My friend Maury was a retired scientist who lived in Texas. He once told me in what field of science he worked, but that was so long ago I can no longer remember, which embarrasses me now. His family has been sending me e-mails keeping me updated on his condition, and from the last communication I thought he might be recovering to some extent. Unfortunately that was a lost hope as I received an e-mail from one of the family last night informing everyone my friend Maury Siskel passed away on May 12th, 2018.
Here’s what was sent to me:
As most of you know, my father, Maury Siskel, passed away on the 12th. There will be memorial services with military honors for Maury at the Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery on Wednesday, May 30th, 2:30pm. You are each more than welcome. The 30th would have been his 90th birthday. As Dad was not religious, we will ask some of his closest friends if they would each like to say a few words rather than having a minister. If any of you would like to say something there, please let me know and we will accommodate as many as possible. I realize that being a weekday, it may be difficult for many to attend - but the National Cemeteries only do internments on weekdays. They schedule 30 minutes for the services at a large covered pavilion, with roughly 15 minutes of that involved in the military honors. Fortunately, I was able to arrange with a local DFW veterans group to have a live bugler for TAPS and a rifle salute, in addition to the normal color guard and flag folding ceremony.
As the National Cemetery limits floral arrangements to a single one at the ceremony and gravesite, please consider making a donation to a charity in lieu of flowers if you are so inclined. As most of you know, Dad would have preferred something like that anyhow, especially to charities which support our civil liberties, or those which help people in need or who are disabled, or which support wounded veterans, etc. I've included links to a few possibilities that way below - Dad has donated in the past to both Judicial Watch and the Pacific Legal Foundation in addition to other charities.
Mark asked me to send his apologies to any of you who may have been missed in the email announcement he sent of Dad's passing, or that he should have called.
I know Dad very much enjoyed his interactions with each of you over the years. Mark and I know some of you ourselves already of course, and of course have heard many of your names through conversations with Dad over the years - but would dearly love if you would be willing to eventually send a little something about yourself, how you got to know Dad, and a little about your typical interactions with him. He collected quite a group of friends over the years. If some of you wind up in from out of town, I'm sure we can arrange to do something after the services. We're also planning a celebration of his life for Sunday the 3rd, at a close friend's home.
The evening he passed, the hospital offered a "Final Salute" as Dad was a veteran. It was extremely moving. They had security come to the room with an American flag when the funeral home person arrived, and we all waited outside the room as Dad was placed on a gurney and covered. An announcement was made in the hospital of his passing and veteran status, asking those so inclined to stand lining the hallways with their hands over their hearts as he was moved to the front entrance.
The American flag was draped over him, and with security as an honor guard leading the way and us behind Dad with more hospital personnel and security following we formed a procession to the main hospital entrance. The halls were lined with hospital staff and some others - and there were probably 30 or more people in the main entrance when we arrived, all standing with their hands over their hearts in honor of those who served our nation. A short statement was read about Dad and his service from information we provided as follows (although I don't recall the exact wording they used to lead into his rank and service branch):
Name: Maurice Siskel, Jr. Highest Rank: Corporal, Military Branch: Army 82nd Airborne, 333rd Infantry, Heavy Mortar Company
Maurice Siskel, Jr., voluntarily served in World War II, Korea, and in the reserves. Known as Maury to his friends, his dedication to the cause of freedom and decency continued throughout his career designing training systems for military aircrews and also in his personal life and family. His devotion to the United States' Constitution, this nation, and our founding principles was profound and inspiring to many who know and loved him. He will be greatly missed.
After which Security proceeded to fold the flag in the military tradition, and presented the flag to me as his daughter with Mark (his son of course) by my side. Then Dad was loaded in the hearse. The entire process was extremely respectful and very moving.
Some of you may be wondering about "Dog" from "Maury & Dog." "Dog" is a big chocolate lab named Jake who's 8 years old now. I was extremely grateful to the hospital - they let us bring Jake in to see Dad the day before he passed, and Dad loved seeing him - he utterly adored that dog and they were great together.
Anyhow, Jake is being cared for and has a good home with a lifelong family friend Amanda Christopher. Her father was our postman back in the 80's. Dad started inviting him in for coffee when he'd deliver the mail - and Curtis has been one of Dad's best friends ever since then. Amanda helped Dad find Jake some time after Dad's first "Jake" had passed, with the understanding that she would take him if he outlived Dad. So Jake is in a very good loving home, and even has a buddy with Amanda and her husband Luke's little dog.
We hope to see you at the services, but regardless know that Dad thought highly of each of you and very much enjoyed his interactions with you.
Mark and I send all our best to each of you and yours,
RobinOver the years I've written much about science in defense of my industry, and I've had the privilege of becoming friends with a number of well known scientists, some of whom allow me to publish their work. Most of these friends are either atheists, or as in the case of Maury, non-religious. But I’m a believer, and I believe there’s a place for my friend Maury.
I shall miss his daily missives. I will miss Maury, and I’m glad Dog is going to be well cared for. I'm going to be 72 soon, and it’s my belief I will finally meet him someday........just not too soon.
My deepest sympathy to his family and all his many friends.