Your Voices | Memories of Ray Deter

East Village Jazz Funeral (I)Roey Ahram Second line march for Ray Deter on Monday.
Ray DeterLinus Gelber Ray Deter.

As we posted earlier, Ray Deter, East Village resident and owner of d.b.a. bar, died July 3 after he was struck by a car while cycling. Monday, a New Orleans style second line paraded from the bar to his home, celebrating his life.

Yesterday, family and friends gathered for his memorial service at the New York City Marble Cemetery. Several have shared their memories of Mr. Deter’s work and life. Kim Davis, The Local’s associate editor, did not know Mr. Deter personally but respected his work, posting:

“It’s worth noting, however, the achievement of establishing an unassuming saloon on First Avenue as the premier destination for beer and whisky/bourbon connoisseurs in the city, if not the country. Preceding the current fascination with craft beers, d.b.a. has long offered an almost absurdly extensive list of brews.

I am sure Mr Deter was proud, and rightly so, of this achievement, and what a great pity it is that his enjoyment of it has been cut so tragically short.”

Another community member, Emily Armstrong, recalled Mr. Deter as “a stand-up guy.” She wrote of his giving nature:

“What a tragedy. We have kids the same age and I knew Ray as an especially generous business owner. He never said no to a request from the local schools.”

Cady McClain, who co-owned Mimi’s in the Marigny with Mr. Deter in New Orleans in 2002, called Mr. Deter “fun, funny, generous, playful, interesting, interested.”

DBA Second Line bar doorJoshua Davis Well-wishers at Mr. Deter’s bar.

She elaborated:

“He had a real knack for totally accepting people as they were- something you don’t see too much of these days. Perhaps this was a key to his happiness- and he was a happy man, despite any and all of life’s problems.

He was also an honest man, a kind man and a very
insightful listener. He had a “rock and roll” heart in the best way- big and full of love.

I don’t think he had a mean bone in his body. In a way, he represented everything good about America: Our openness, generosity of spirit, playfulness, big heart, an almost childlike love of fun… wrapped up in a unique style that was pure ‘Ray’ and only Ray.”

You can read Ms. McClain’s reflections in full here.

Join the conversation: Do you have memories of Mr. Deter? Please share them here.