Deathbed tribute to a Kiwi music legend

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Here’s a tribute you won’t read in any daily paper – it’s rock’n’roller Larry Morris’s account of the last hours he spent at the deathbed of pioneering Kiwi pop legend Ray Columbus.

“Tom Sharplin and I stayed with him for two and a half hours, at their home on the water at Snell’s Beach – wife Linda was absent, in town seeing the priest,” Morris writes.

“Ray & Linda’s daughter Tina, home from the States with her accountant hubby, were there, having arrived from New York at 9 this morning. The Poodle was also there, seeming out of whack to his usual bubbly self, no doubt grieving for his buddy Ray and wondering where Linda had gone?

“I told them some true stories about my 10 years in America, that had them in fits and Tom told them a few gags. We entertainers can’t help ourselves!

“Ray looked extremely cold to me, and felt real cold, as you do when you finally check out. But I loved the fire engine-red casket with white satin interior, Ray’s pants matching the red coffin.

“And the multi-platinum records on display at the end of the coffin where the black & white sandshoe sneakers he wore seemed to come alive.

“Ray – Showman till the end and now orchestrating the first stage of his send-off from his coffin. No surprise there, bless his little heart.

“So glad Linda asked us to go up and see him and the family. So glad we went. No more pain, no more strain, the Mod Father is gone but never will he be forgotten.”

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