Aug. 11, 2020, 5 p.m. EST

Frank E. Reilly, second from left, and his wife, Sharon, center, in the courtyard of the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco after their 1970 wedding at Old St. Mary’s Church, along with Kit Carson, the maid of honor, far left, and their friends Judy, second from right, and her husband, Mois, the best man. Photo courtesy of Frank E. Reilly

Dear Judy,

I learned today that you died in San Francisco, and so it breaks my heart to have to say goodbye after 65 years of a friendship that defied description, perhaps even understanding.

But that doesn’t matter, you and I understood it throughout years of new jobs, relationships and traveling to different places around the world, often going in opposite directions. In the end, though, I believe we both got what we wanted, though I don’t think I ever knew specifically until my search ended up in my lap.

You found Mois in New Hampshire and I found Sharon in San Francisco, and all was right with the world. And don’t forget, you moved to the West Coast before I did, so once again you played the role of pathfinder.

I firmly think it was my first trip to California in 1967, when you and Mois were living in Redwood City and I spent the night, that the seed was planted and eventually blossomed into my getting a delicious job in San Francisco. It gave me the opportunity to get to know Mois better, and who would have guessed that he would be my best man at Sharon’s and my wedding three years later?

Now, as I’m composing this letter to you, my dear friend, my mind wants to drift to many times we laughed together, exchanged experiences and drank too many cocktails those days in New York on a Friday night after work, when you and Ronnie, Tom and Terry, would converge and lose all track of time, often later saying the advertising business was our sandbox: Work and play hard.

This isn’t the first time I had to say goodbye to you, as it seemed you were always leaving and I staying. I guess that says a lot about our character, I Cancer, and you Leo; Mother Earth and Gulliver, today’s society would appreciate these reversed roles!

I remember biding you farewell to Albany, Paris and then finally California, and you know what, I visited you in all those places and always had one good old time meeting your friends, latest beau, experiencing the sights and learning about the new places.

I was present shortly after you gave birth to Daniel and then Rachel, just about one month before you and Mois joined Sharon and me for our wedding at Old St. Mary’s Church. Gee, we had a grand time that day – you two, Kit Carson, her friend from the Art Institute who took the avant-garde photographs.

Now you and I were entering another chapter in our friendship, continuing to build upon it, and for me deepening my appreciation and love for you. If I didn’t say it then, I was always grateful to be a part of your life. This is hard, but I know I have to say goodbye once again, my dear friend, and to wish you a safe journey and easy landing.

Your old friend, Frank

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