Just ran across this email that Jimmie had sent out a couple years ago; seems to belong here:
By Winter Prosapio
Published November 14, 2006
He never married, never had any children, but Raymond Whipple had one of the biggest families in the Texas Hill Country.
“He saw everybody as family,” said Bonnie Priest, a longtime friend of Raymond Whipple.
Priest, along with more than 40 artists, family members and friends, attended a bittersweet memorial service for Raymond Whipple on Sunday at New Braunfels’ Heritage Plaza.
They gathered under a brilliant blue sky to remember hilarious and heart-warming stories about a man who was difficult to categorize. Raymond Whipple was an artist, craftsman, conservationist and adventurer who believed deeply in the value of connection, friends said. He drew lasting and intense connections with people, with the past and with every community in which he lived, they said.
Diane Hernandez met Raymond Whipple in 1968, and their relationship flourished despite distance — Hernandez was in California and Raymond Whipple in Texas.
“Our spirits were together for our whole life,” said Hernandez, an artist and designer. “He was in my mind every day.”
The son of a top commercial artist, Raymond Whipple focused his talents in commercializing his fine art by creating work that he could develop as limited edition prints. He also created a community with other artists, establishing a gallery, bringing art exhibits to the area and selling the work of such notable Southwest artists as Rod Goebel.
Yet, what Raymond Whipple may have been best known for was his stories. Nephew John Whipple related a story of his uncle’s trip to Nicaragua. Raymond Whipple, who drove from Texas in an Econoline van, had bought discounted cases of candy to give away on the drive down and left a long trail of chocolate bars with officials and new friends. When he arrived and gave some to his host, the host became violently ill a few hours later. Suddenly he had a picture of the true trail he’d left along the way.
“I think that may have affected his decision to sell the Econoline and fly back instead of drive,” said John Whipple, laughing.
“Remember the flame thrower?” asked Priest, joining in the happy recollection of the additional pyrotechnics Raymond Whipple brought to a Fourth of July celebration. “He was so quiet, and then he’d be wild. You just never expected it.”
Walking around the Heritage Center — where an example of Raymond Whipple’s conservation work, the Breustedt kitchen, is on display — John Whipple recalled what drove his uncle’s efforts to save historic buildings.
“He believed that we were losing what was good from the past. He didn’t want to let it be gone,” John Whipple said. “Now he’s gone.”
Gone, perhaps, but far from forgotten. With a legacy of living history, artwork and inspiration, Raymond Whipple has managed to maintain the connection to his community of friends and family.
“He was my inspiration,” said Hernandez, who hasn’t been painting for some time, but talked to Raymond Whipple every week for years. “I always said I was going to start (painting), but I never did it.”
Hernandez looked away for a moment, her eyes brimmed with sadness.
“I’m going to do it now,” she said with a smile. “My Ray. He’s going to keep me going.”