LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Hundreds of people gathered at Cameron Baptist Church Tuesday morning for the funeral of Raymond McAlister.
"It's a great turnout. It shows you the impression that Raymond made on so many people's lives. The guy came around in my life 40 years ago and he never left. Been a part of my life forever," said C.H. Brazzel, Raymond's "brother."
Among those in attendance was Comanche County Court Clerk Robert Morales, who met Ray when he worked for the Lawton Police Department.
"My favorite memory with Raymond was two days after my election in 08," Morales said. "He came to the courthouse and said, 'Robert, we've got to go get all of your signs down.' It was a very hot day in July and we spent all day long, went out throughout the county to take my signs down and that was very special. It was just him and I that day."
Henry Ray met Raymond while working at Central Middle School. He said there wasn't a football or soccer game that went by that Raymond wasn't right there talking to everyone.
"Any event that you went to pretty well Raymond was going to be there. He was known by so many people," Ray said. "The service was attended by how many people but there were a lot of people who couldn't attend because of work schedule and those things. He's going to be missed."
Thousands of people across Lawton will remember Raymond and the lessons they learned while interacting with him.
"You couldn't hate. Not with Raymond. You learn to love and that is good. That's what's going to be missed the most. I will miss him coming when one of our girl's birthdays, I'll miss him coming in singing loud happy birthday. I'm going to miss that," Morales said.
And as Raymond's loved ones said their final goodbyes, they had one last lesson for the man some call Mr. Lawton.
"I love you Raymond," said Morales.
"I'd say Ray keep up the good work and give him a big salute. That's what he was always doing," said Brazzel.
"I'd just say, Raymond, I love you. And I'm certainly, certainly glad I got to be your friend," said Ray.
Raymond passed away Wednesday, January 10 after weeks of declining health. There were dozens of cars on hand as his body was taken to its final resting place at the Elgin Cemetery. During his eulogy on Tuesday, Brazzel told a story of a promise he made to Raymond back in the late 1990s.
"I looked at Raymond and I said, Raymond, when you die I'm going to speak at your funeral," Brazzel said. "He looked at me boldly and said I don't have time to die I've got too much to do. I'm here today to keep my commitment that I made to him 20 years ago. We joked and kidded about it 20 years ago but here we are today."
Raymond was 60 years old.