Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Will Rogers State Park: A Fitting Tribute to Gary Eifer

On Sunday the family and friends of our dear late friend Gary Eifer gathered on the lawn in front of Will Rogers’ house to celebrate Gary’s life with the dedication of four rocking chairs especially made to re-create rockers from the time of Will Rogers.

(See for a special thanks about the chairs.)

In keeping with Will’s love of comic sayings, a storyteller regaled those of us commemorating Gary Eifer with tall and short tales.

Te choice of Will Rogers State Park for a memorial was particularly fitting because Gary collected art and furniture of the Old West and he loved the outdoors.

For those of you who don’t know who Will Rogers was, here’s an explanation from one of the websites about the park:

In the early 1930s, Will Rogers was the most popular and highest paid actor in Hollywood. From his start in vaudeville theater with a trick roping act, he rose to world-wide fame as a columnist, philosopher, radio personality, and movie star.

During the 1920s, he bought land in Santa Monica, where he developed a ranch. Eventually, the Rogers’ owned 186 acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean, in what is now known as Pacific Palisades.

The ranch became the place where Will Rogers could relax with his family and friends, pursuing his favorite pastimes of riding and roping.

At his untimely death in a plane crash in 1935, Will Rogers’ ranch consisted of a 31-room ranch house, a stable, corrals, riding ring, roping arena, polo field, golf course, and hiking trails.

When Will’s widow Betty died in 1944, she left the ranch to the State of California to become a state park.

Today the house is open to tours, and you can admire Will’s collection of furniture and art of the Wild West.

Both Will and Gary shared a love of spending time with family and friends, and both men died sudden unexpected deaths.

I highly recommend visiting Will Rogers State Park if you have the opportunity. Sit in the rocking chairs in front of Will’s house and think about two wonderful guys taken from our midst before their time.

To the memory of Gary Eifer.

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