How can I say goodbye to someone who has been an integral part of my life for over 20 years? How can I say goodbye to the person who gave me my DJ name, watched and help me grow up from a boy to man in this industry? How can I accept that truth of “never”? I hope these words will do justice to the amazing human Ray Martinez was.
It seems like only a few weeks ago we were planning our next baseball trip. Ray LOVED baseball and it was this common love for baseball that helped form the group loosely known as “Ray Mar’s Rat Pack”. There is me, Luke, Rob and Eric. In addition to that, I am sure there are countless DJs who have shared a baseball park somewhere across the U.S. with Ray through the years.
For more than 20 years, Ray has been a mentor, a confidant, a friend and sometimes even a pain in the ass… you all have been there. Nevertheless, I was the lucky one to have had him in my life and experienced the pure love he had for people.
Since his passing, his bright smile and infectious laugh that brightened and warmed our lives, has been replaced by a flood of memories.
Today I speak not only for myself and for my family who considered Ray Mar part of our family, but also for the thousands of DJs who had the good fortune to call Ray a friend.
As I have been gathering memories together in my mind over the past several days, I kept hearing Ray’s voice, telling me what to say, what he would have advised me to say. He was always good at helping me when I wasn’t sure how to word something of this importance.
Ray was an extraordinary, truly wonderful human being. He loved everyone and would do anything for a stranger, let alone his friends and family.
Ray loved his parents, his children and his family. He adored and was completely in love with his wife Zoila, in whom he found his spiritual and intellectual counterpart.
He was devoted to his DJ friends with equal affection and sincerity. There was nothing in his power he would not do for any of us, and we knew it without ever having a doubt.
I first got to know Ray when I attended one of my first DJ shows, where I am sure many of you also first met him as well. Our friendship grew as we shared our love for baseball, travel and the DJ community. We found a common passion for helping those who came after us make it a better community than how they found it.
We also, at some point, discovered we both had a guilty pleasure of being wrestling fans, which it seems is not as uncommon as I thought it might be. We attended several WrestleMania shows together throughout the years.
What always amazed me about Ray was that he never lost his natural kindness or the moral compass that set his priorities in life and in business. Both characteristics that I strive to carry on from him proudly. Above all, he was a friend unconditionally, always ready to offer a helping hand or to listen to your problems. He was always the first to share his knowledge, his skills and abilities, to help others, devoting himself to advancing everyone in the DJ industry. One of Ray’s greatest pleasures was to celebrate life. He loved to sing, dance and just help create a party that would be unforgettable for those who attended.
While I will never be able to attend a baseball game again with Ray, I will ALWAYS have his spirit and love for the game in my heart. In honor of that, I want to share some parallels from baseball and life that I learned from Ray Mar…
1. Keep your eyes on the ball. It is easy to be distracted by everything going on around you but always stay focused on what is most important.
2. Aim for the fences. Always strive to meet and exceed your goals. You might not always hit a home run, but always swing for one.
3. Swing hard every time. Always give your all to everything you do in life. Don’t ever half ass anything.
4. It’s OK to strike out. You won’t always get things right the first time. It’s OK to fail sometimes, it builds character and helps you appreciate success with humility.
5. You can’t do everything by yourself. Make sure you have a good team around you. It is OK to ask for help and make sure that when you need help, you have trusted people in place.
These are just a few of the many words of wisdom Ray shared with me. It is because of the many hours of talking, laughing and crying with Ray that I am, in part, the man I am today. I love you, I miss you and I hope I have made you proud, Ray. You will always be in our hearts and your legacy will forever carry on through “Ray’s Rat Pack” and every DJ who was fortunate enough to spend even 10 minutes with you.