If there was ever a question who Savannah's leading citizen was, we now have the answer.
With a funeral service and procession more like the passing of a head of state than a musician, Savannah said goodbye to the late Ben Tucker, "Jazz Ambassador" to the world, an integral part of jazz history as well as local history, and just a hell of a great guy.
He was killed on Hutchinson Island on the Westin Harbor golf course, when a man driving recklessly on a portion of the old racetrack collided with Ben's golf cart at 90 mph.
While Ben left us too early and all too tragically, we can take a bit of solace in knowing he died at a ripe old age after a successful and influential life, doing what he dearly loved — playing golf.
He avoided the lingering fate of so many people who pass away in obscurity: Nursing homes, respirators, loneliness, dementia robbing precious memories.
It's not much to go on — not really that much solace after all — but it'll have to do.
The true human tragedy is that Ben passed away without getting a chance to say goodbye to his loved ones, without them getting a chance to say goodbye to him.
All we can do now is say our goodbyes the way we know how.
Thanks to Scott "Panhandle Slim" Stanton for our specially-commissioned cover art this issue.
Inside this issue, along with our previously scheduled Summer Living special section, you'll find our reminiscences and remembrances of Ben Tucker.
We wish we had better news to report this week.