No one who is ordinary becomes a workers’ comp lawyer. And I may be biased here, but anyone who lives in our little “circle of friends”, as we sometimes call ourselves, will likely agree. Look around you, Delaware work comp bar—is there anyone you among you who is ordinary? Heck, no.
It is even in this setting that the Delaware Work Comp bar lost someone extraordinary, someone special among a class of elite. We mourn the loss of Raymond Clayton Radulski, Esquire—taken from our ranks at age 31 and called home to Heaven—where one has no doubt he will fit in perfectly.
Lest you think I am making much of Ray simply because of his untimely passing, do not take my word for it. Here are the words of his heartbroken colleagues--
Timothy Dillon (Ray’s partner): “Ray was a class act who was extremely proud to be a Delaware lawyer, in the footsteps of his father, and was even more proud to practice in the workers compensation area with such great colleagues. He thought the world of all of you.
Ray was a genuinely kind soul (rare in this world) who was quick with a smile and even quicker with a joke and he always selflessly offered his time and efforts to help anyone who was in need. He was a very hard worker and was dedicated to becoming a better lawyer every day and was also dedicated to getting his clients the best possible results in his cases. As his supervising attorney, I was so very fortunate to have had the time to work with him and to call him, above all, my friend. Ray was just a really good and decent guy, through and through.
Ray’s dedication to the Delaware Bar honored our profession as well as his wife and parents, who instilled in him such great values as a man. We will all miss our dear friend and colleague.”
Nancy Chrissinger Cobb (Ray’s former boss): “Ray was the poster child for “character” in the best sense of the word. He was a character; quirky enough to be endearing. We here will recall his joyfully exuberant nature (to which I occasionally had to remind him to use his “inside voice”), his love of the Redskins and the Red Sox, his glee every time he did well in Court, and his devotion to Erin and his family. However, Ray also had character. He was gracious (really, thank you notes are almost non-existent these days, but I got them from Ray), thoughtful of others, and considerate of his colleagues on whichever side of the “v” they were on. Liberty was Ray’s first job after graduation and we watched him mature into a true “Delaware Lawyer.” Ray was a worthy advocate and, as I learned after he made the switch to McCann, Schaible and Wall, a worthy opponent. I like to think I can take some minimal credit for his legal and advocacy skills and for making him a good lawyer, but that pales in comparison to the credit due for instilling in him his core values; that credit belongs to his parents, Ray and Sharon. He was a big hearted, and as it turns out, perhaps weak hearted young man who will be sorely missed.“
Dennis Menton (Ray’s cousin): “A number of weeks ago, Ray and I had a long talk about our heritage. Back in the day, his grandparents (my aunt and uncle ) had a bakery on South Harrison street, known as “Radulski”s Bakery “ which was just down from St. Hedwig’s Catholic Church.
On any given Saturday morning, when you went to the bakery, you would have thought you were somehow transported to Warsaw Poland. No one spoke English. The primary language was polish in the store. Ray and I laughed and laughed about his “pops” bakery and the stories it delivered. We both talked about the fact that whatever you ate from the bakery is nothing you will ever find anywhere today. It was a unique setting, and a great foundation of learning for Ray and our entire family.
Though Ray had achieved a very excellent education where high standardized tests scores are absolutes for entrance, Ray never left his South Harrison Street roots.
As an adversary ( Ray and I were scheduled for a Hearing this week ), though he was young, I was unabashedly intimidated not just by his intelligence, but the well-grounded knowledge he gained from the foundation of his childhood, i.e., the knowledge that is not written in textbooks.”
Don Marston: “I knew Ray's Dad back in the day. That gave me an instant "in" with Ray when he came on the scene as a defense attorney. He was a very good lawyer, and an even better person. When Ray called me to discuss a case, I knew I needed 15 minutes: 5 for the case and 10 for sports, politics, his family, etc. I last saw him at the Breakfast Seminar a week ago. He made a point to come across the room, slap me on the back, beam that smile and ask me how I was doing. He was one of the most genuine people I have ever known. I will miss him. “
Heather Long: “Ray was always one of those guys who was quick with a smile and a joke- actually, I can't think of any time that I talked to Ray that didn't involve a joke or funny anecdote of some sort. He was passionate about his practice, and was a true gentleman in every sense of the word. Ray was also somewhat of a prankster. He often joked with me that he would hide Redskins paraphernalia in my office when I wasn't looking. He also wagered a bet with me on the Redskins/Eagles games, the penalty of which was that he was going to buy my kids Redskins t shirts that they had to wear if the Eagles lost.
Ray was on the Small Firms softball team, and whenever I came to cheer them on, he always took time to say hi and play catch with my son. I just saw Ray last Monday at the WC Breakfast seminar. He was sitting at another table, but made sure to catch my eye and wave "hi" to me- just another example of how he would go out of his way to be a nice guy. It is impossible to believe that such a vibrant, quick-witted, friendly guy is no longer with us. My heart goes out to his bride, Erin and the rest of their family.”
Linda Wilson: “When I think of Ray, I smile. One Thursday, he and I were waiting to go in to our respective legal hearings. It was a really long wait. One of the things we talked about was his time at St. Edmonds Academy (SEA). He told me what a goof (my word) he was in that all boy middle-school environment. I chuckle when I remember how he told me that his time in an all-boys school during those middle school years kind of set him back in knowing how to act around girls. I wish I could remember exactly what he said. It was something like, when he first started at Archmere (I believe), he did or said something that would have been "accepted" at SEA, and he looked over at one of his female classmates and she was looking at him like "what in the world??!" . He told me he eventually figured out how to act around girls, and told me about his wife. My condolences to her for her loss.”
Scott Mondell: “Ray works in our building. We saw Ray all the time – on the way in, lunch, random afternoon sightings in the lobby. He would occasionally stop by, like a neighbor who is a great, old friend. And when he did, the floor felt more alive. He would meander down our floor like a golden lab puppy, bounding from office to office – sticking his head in to say hi (or a “hey dude” in Radulski parlance), and relate a story. ANYONE who knew Ray knew his smile, his essence. He was nice to the very core. He just resonated with a …. no matter what case might be stressing you out, no matter what hot project you had, no matter what case you had with him, ….. all was cool while you were in his orbit, within the power of his smile and ease.
Ray had a way about him that is hard to put into words. Hard to explain to people who were not fortunate enough to have known him. Whenever, … and I really mean WHENEVER, you saw Ray, he would light up like a kid on Christmas morning. He was genuinely happy to see you. He meant it too. He had a way of making you feel like he was your best friend. And I have no doubt he made a GREAT best friend to those who were fortunate enough to know him outside of the work context.
In trying to describe him to my wife, it came to mind that I think I can best describe him as a gregarious puppy. I mean that in only the most complementary sense in that he seemed always joyous and happy to see you. His joy was infectious. Whether it was trash talking in our fantasy football league ( he always started the trouble!) or having the Annual Radulski award named after him at the w/comp beer exchange (Ray made our year one booby prize decision sooooo easy after bringing a six pack to our annual bring a case of beer event …. and yes, laughing at himself was another of his amazing traits), Ray had a love of life, a love of interacting with others, …. a love of (usually bad) jokes followed by that glint in his eyes. To meet him for only a moment you knew he was special,….He was a guy you would have loved to have hung with …… I am so, so sorry I will not have that chance again.”
Fred Freibott: “I agree with all that has been said about Ray—just a great guy. This is a horrible tragedy.”
Walt Schmittinger: “Heartbreaking news - such a good guy, and a pleasure to work with. I hadn't heard until I got your email this morning.”
Frank Nardo: “Anyways professional. Always a gentleman. A truly good person.”
Nick Krayer: “When someone passes away you often hear people say “we lost one of the good guys.” This couldn’t be more true in Ray’s case. He was a good guy in every sense of the word. He was quick with a joke and always had a smile on his face. I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who has a bad thing to say about Ray. He will be greatly missed.“
Elissa Greenberg: “There was something about Ray’s personality that reminded me of my Brooklyn Jewish family roots. I can’t quite put my finger on it to this day , and it doesn’t much matter anyway because I was ever so wrong.
One day, in the course of discussing deposition availability, Ray threw out a date that fell on a significant Jewish holiday called Yom Kippur. I told him I couldn’t do a deposition that day for the same reason he couldn’t. Of course he asked: “and why is that?” I replied: “it’s Yom Kippur – can you believe the holidays are here already?” He said: “that’s not the only thing I can’t believe.” Boy did we have a good laugh over my mistake! He became my “honorary Jew” from that point forward. Ray was a pleasure to work with and “against,” and I am admittedly still trying to comprehend the sad news. My heartfelt sympathies go out to his wife, his dogs, his friends and his family. He will be greatly missed.”
Christine O’Connor: “Ray and I exchanged email messages on Friday about a case we worked on for several months. He always included a personal note in his messages – there was always a sense that he truly meant it when he wished you well. I received the news about his death from Dennis on Sunday. I could not help but think back to the fact that I just saw him at the seminar last week. During our break, he glanced back over his shoulder and said “hi”. He gave me that “Ray grin” that everybody always loved. This morning, I opened my mail folder and the first thing I laid eyes on were some documents memorializing a commutation we just worked out together. I couldn’t help but think that it was Ray’s way of sending me (us, really) a message that he’s still with us. I’ll miss him very much.“
Kristopher Starr: “Those who think of Ray might easily counter that God has no mercy or fails to walk with us and among us. Whatever the Divine may be, the Divine has no countenance towards man. I prefer a different view. Yes, we all lost someone special, be it you knew Ray as friend, colleague, acquaintance or just fellow Delaware lawyer. I knew Ray. Ray was a man of kindness, dignity and purpose. We are all diminished by his loss, but, oh how we were filled by his presence. So, as we celebrate his much too short life and, as we consider our own grief, let us remember that Ray's inescapable light brightened the dark spaces in all who encountered him. He now exists in the eternity of kind and benevolent warmth even as we speak his name and commit his memory to the winds of time. “
Cassandra Roberts: The obituary for Ray suggests that he was an only child. As I like to ponder things in Scriptural terms, I cannot help think about Proverbs 18:24 where it talks about a friend sticking closer than a brother ……….. in which case Ray came from an enormous family. I knew Ray not as well as some, and better than a few others. Right now our hearts our broken, but I see him dancing with our Father God in fields of grace. And his cap is red.
Memory eternal,Cassandra Roberts
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