Beloved friends, board members and mentors Ray Martinez and Marc Burgess will be missed.

by David Hanscom

Imagine working an event and you’re having one fo the best event days of your life! Everyone is having a blast, the audience is eating out of your hand and the client is loving your work. We have all been there (hopefully) at some point during our career. It’s the type of event we all strive for each and every time.

Now, imagine that in the brief few seconds of downtime you glance at a text that notifies you that one of your best friends and mentors in business has passed away. On August 4, 2020 that is exactly what happened to me. As many of you know, that was the day that Ray Mar (Ray Martinez) passed away and it took everything inside me to get through the next two and a half days of that event I was working.

Marc Burgess has a very fun-loving side to him that everyone gravitated toward.

Fast forward through a year unlike none we have ever experienced before and I was fortunate enough to be hired for the event again this year. Same company, new group of employees. The morning kicked off as usual with a “tech check”, everything was working perfectly and we are ready to roll. We have a strong morning session, lots of fun and lots of laughs. This should be another great year with this group!

At around 12:15 p.m. on the 1 year anniversary of the passing of Ray Mar, it was like life had decided to give me the most unlikely of deja vu when I received a text message to notify me that another one of my dearest friends in life, Marc Burgess, passed from Covid around 11:30 a.m. that morning.

I remember thinking to myself a few things:

1. Why would this happen on the same day, what is life trying to tell me about this?

2. How will I keep my composure once again, knowing how tough it was the first time around?

3. Will this client ever want to hire me again when I tell them that lightning has literally struck again one year to the date later?

Marc Burgess just monkeying around.

Marc and I literally grew up together in this business. We were like those kids you see in school coming up together playing sports or something. We only lived about two hours apart from one another so we were able to really support one another and navigate through the industry. I believe the first time we met was at a Todd Mitchem workshop and our friendship never looked back. Our families spent time vacationing together, on DJ cruises together and he was instrumental and present at so many of the great memories I have as a DJ. Marc was one of the nicest people you could meet and he truly cared about the industry and the people who wanted to find a successful path in it. He will be missed by SO VERY MANY and will never forget all that he did for me and meant to me as a brother.

I’ve taken some time to really address the first question above. The last two are pretty simple answers, I channeled the happiness and big smile that Marc often had on his face to get through the event and the client thanked me for being as professional as I was to get though the event and not let their employees know what I was dealing with. They later sent me a very kind email once they were made aware of what I was dealing with. But back to the first question, why would this happen on the same day, what is life trying to tell me about this?

A rare photo of Marc without his glasses!

I have been someone who is always looking for the positives, even in overwhelming challenging situations. Having these two taken from my life too soon (not that there would ever had been a good time) was tremendously heartbreaking. I don’t know that I will ever truly accept it as, in both cases, I was literally having a conversation with both of them days before about how much I couldn’t wait for all of his to be behind us so we can get together again. Now faced with the reality that it will not be able to happen, I have to be strong and take what I have learned from them both and pass it onto others. I have to live life to the fullest and not be afraid to take chances. I have to be strong in my convictions but wise in my willingness to learn and understand.

For me, and I hope you will join in, August 4th will now and forever be “RayMarc Day”. It will be a day that I celebrate that they were and all that they will continue to be as they live on through those of us who’s lives are better because they were a part of it. Thank you Marc for being my friend, thank you for being my brother and thank you for being my family. I will miss you…

Lots of love from llamas and humans alike from Marc Burgess!

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