At John Earl Records’ celebration of life service Thursday the flag did not fly at half-staff, it hung strung between two cherry picker City trucks in a nod to the work he performed for the City of Cupertino.
Records, who worked for the city since 1994, died in his sleep Dec. 31. He was 44.
A line to sign the guest book stretched the long hall to the Cupertino Room at Quinlan Community Center where about 300 people packed the room for the Thursday commemoration.
“It’s awesome to see how many people John has touched,” said Fran Dulay to the crowd.
Picture after picture in a video tribute showed Records and his signature smile that friends and family said would be just one of the many things they would miss about him.
He was a hometown guy, moved to Cupertino as a freshman at Cupertino High School then worked for the City of Cupertino’s tree maintenance group.
The bright orange shirts that dotted the room at the service were tribute to the work Records did for the city. Records maintained the city’s urban forest and was the lead man of the tree group, said Mayor Mark Santoro who paid tribute to Records in a special city council meeting Jan. 10.
Dulay and Records are not blood related—they married sisters—but to Dulay, Records was a brother of choice.
Records was already in a relationship with Stacey, his wife and partner for more than 20 years, when Dulay began dating Stacey’s sister Kim. Kim spoke so highly of Records that Dulay was nervous to meet him the first time, he said.
Dulay recalled thinking to himself, “I hope he’s not too big.”
“Then I meet him and, great, he’s a (flipping) giant,” Dulay said referring to Records muscular build.
But Records was a giant in heart as well as body building so it didn’t take long before the two were fast friends.
Records was the “first to welcome me to his family,” and was a confidant.
“He would let me say things right or wrong, he didn’t judge.”
To Dulay’s wife, Kim, Records was more than just a guy who was dating her older sister.
“He showed me at a young age what a man of integrity was,” she said.
What Records didn’t know, she added, was that by marrying her sister it was a package deal.
“He would never get rid of me,” she said.
The two couples were together so much that Fran Dulay was given special privileges in the Records’ home.
“John loved me so much he gave me the remote control. That’s a big deal,” he said.
Decorating the outside of his home at Christmas was also a big deal to Records, said one former neighbor who spoke at the service.
A competition of sorts was brewing between Records and another neighbor so Records decided to up his game and add a decoration each year. But when the neighbor didn’t match his ante they learned that neighbor was unaware of the competition.
“We were having a war with someone who didn’t know it,” the former neighbor said.
A memorial page on Facebook was set up and can be accessed at www.Facebook.com/johnerecords. Records is survived by his wife, Stacey, children, Tara L. Miller 22, Marissa R. Records, 14, and Mitchell W. Records, 12.