January 16, 2013
Last Saturday was the funeral for longtime Western actor Harry Carey, Jr. who died on December 27 at age 91. My good friend Brian Downes attended the service and sent me this report:
The service was January 12 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara where Dobe lived for the last decade or so. The church was jam-packed with 300 of Dobe's family, friends and colleagues and fans. Sitting close by were actors Robert Carradine who appeared with Dobe in "The Long Riders" and Claude Jarman Jr. who played John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara's son, Trooper Jefferson Yorke, in "Rio Grande." (Jarman was the teenager who performed that outstanding Roman ride alongside Dobe and Ben Johnson.) Also on hand was author Dan Ford, grandson of director John Ford, John Wayne's daughter, Melinda Munoz, and granddaughter Anita LaCava Swift.
Eulogies were short but most memorable to me was the full-throated organ playing "Shall we Gather by the River" Dobe's 'theme song' in "3 Godfathers."
I've known Dobe about 20 years since my days of writing westerns for the Chicago Tribune and was thrilled to have shared with him so many memorable events in his later life. I rode alongside him on his last horseback trip to Monument Valley, was there when he was inducted into the Great Western Performers gallery at the Cowboy Hall of Fame and escorted him to the Reagan Presidential Library where he received the red carpet treatment at the museum's U.S.Cavalry: History and Hollywood Exhibit.
Dobe used to say he wanted his tombstone to read: "He rode with the Duke." Yes, he did, but that was just part of his story.
Brian is the director of the John Wayne Birthplace Museum in Winterset, Iowa.
“All battles are fought by scared men who'd rather be some place else.”