Posted by: suek2001 | October 5, 2016

“..a drink to the living..a toast to the dead..”

It is October…..the skies are grayer…the weather is cooler…and the leaves are turning…..October seems to be a transitional month…we tearfully say goodbye to Summer….and steel ourselves for winter….in my beautiful hometown of Duluth, they are even saying we could see snow in the week…and so ,our five month winter begins….

This is also the time when I begin the nagging sad feeling….weather has a lot to do with it but October is sad month for me..I’ve lost quite a few people I care about during this month…my best friend Dennis 21 years ago…my brother Chris, 47 years ago…and John Denver 19 years ago….

With the exception of a few birthdays, I really detest October….and now, another passing to the list….a friend named Rex De Long…..Rex and I never met face to face but we traded emails and comments online for a good 15 years or so..

We met through a John Stewart discussion group..via email…we would branch off into another email group for fun and provocative conversation…Rex loved music..specifically Ray Charles…John Stewart…and John Denver…and also the old time gospel songs….

Rex’s influence on me cannot be overstated…His passion for God..his willingness to love and his desire for peace seeped through every note…and every post…

His faith challenged me at times..I would have moments of rage towards God and he would listen..and then I know he’d pray..and offer the love of a brother in Christ….He was more than a brother in musical love but a brother in Christ….

Rex also changed the way I looked at modern worship music…He made a statement once that he really didn’t like modern worship music because it turned things around in the Church….Today’s modern worship music focuses on us..the we worship…instead of the attributes of the Lord  we should be worshiping…This is mostly true in the Evangelical realm of worship…my church sings a lot of these songs…and it is the trend…and that changes how we view the old hymns are what Rex loved….and yes, he loved new treatments of the old hymns….

Rex also had a ministry…a puppet ministry….He worked as a worship leader and kid’s minister at Calvary Chapel  in California…he loved children..and loved the Lord…and the impact he had on those kids will live on forever…

There are so many other things I could say about Rex….his humor was legendary…his passion for playing piano and guitar led him to jam with friends from all over the country…his musical past with the Rumblers was something  he loved to talk about…and his years of friendship and work with Allan Thicke translated into a fierce loyalty to him as well…If Rex loved you, you can bet he’d be loyal to you…

I will miss his turn of a phrase…like these.

“Bless your kind heart”…”Wonderment”…and “peredventure”….and although he wasn’t southern..he loved the phrase “fixin’ to”…

The thing that tickled me about Rex was the subtle way he would  use Scripture in every email….but quote song lyrics with it…to make the music and the Creator of music as one…His most frequently used one was this one:


So, how can you honor Rex..sure you can listen to Gordon Lightfoot, John Denver or John Stewart (The Folk Triumvirate as he called it)…that’s nice but I bet he would love if we all just showed a little more love and kindness in this dark world..

I really hope this blog pays tribute to Rex in a way that he would love..a.s he was true champion of my writing…and a lot of my observations… I was reading through old emails, I came across one where we were all discussing what song we would want sung at our memorial service…and his choice was a simple one….I can’t think of a better tribute…and a better way to close this blog..





  1. Nicely done, Suzie-Q!!!

  2. Rex’s son Josh here. It’s late at night and I’m thinking of my dad. Did a Google search to reread other posts and tributes people made about him and ran into this for the first time. Thanks so much for posting. it’s hard to overestimate the joy it brings to stumble across something like this while sitting and missing my dad.

    • Josh..I am glad this blog touched your heart. Rex created some great memories within his circle of friends but they in no way compare to what he created in his family. My heart goes out to you and the rest of the De Long family. I am not one to offer trite thoughts and Rex wouldn’t want that…I am sure..I can only say that every smile and laugh, Rex is there…for his spirit lingers on…His soul may be with the Lord but of us down here will soon forget him….My best wishes to you and yours in the coming year..

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