I'm creating this profile to honor Claude and to provide a central place for friends and family to share their love and thoughts. I miss him a great deal and I'm happy to see that Linda and Dakota are doing great and surrounded by love. It's actually been six years since his passing and yet it seems like just yesterday that we were laughing together.
I'd like to share the eulogy I gave in his honor at his funeral. It seems to provide a nice summary of what made Claude special to all of us.
My name is Ralph Racine and I’ve had the privilege of knowing Claude-Henri Racine all of my life. He was born on August 14th, 1967 in New York to Jean-Claude and Ginette Racine; just over 4 years before me. Though Claude is my cousin, as our fathers are brothers, in many ways I’ve always looked up to Claude like he was the big brother I never had.
There are several qualities that made Claude a special person. For example, those of you who knew him know that he was an incredibly talented artist. Since I could remember, Claude had a natural ability to transfer whatever image he wanted to paper. I’ll never forget one particular day when I was a child. I might have been 7 years old and I was sitting next to Claude on an airplane bound from Haiti to NY. I remember there was a delay and we sat in the plane for a while as we waited for the workers outside to finish servicing the plane. By the time the plane was ready to leave the terminal, Claude had finished drawing a complete reproduction of the scene outside of the plane. It showed the workers servicing the plane, the vehicles on the ground and the entire wing of the plane. After we showed the picture to the flight attendant, she took it to show the captain of the plane. Shortly after, we were pleasantly surprised to receive a visit from the captain who came over to compliment his work. Needless to say, I was in awe of his talent as an artist.
But despite this obvious gift he was seemingly born with, I wouldn’t say that was the most special thing about Claude. What made him really special and so dear to those who knew him was the way he expressed his love: with passion and action. If Claude loved something or someone, you knew it because he was a man of action and he made it known with verve and conviction. His care and concern for people was absolutely genuine. He didn’t hide it. You knew he was a Giants fan. You knew he loved the Yankees. You knew he loved his country as evidenced by the presence of the huge American Flag in front of his home.
In Matthew 5:14 it says, ͞"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.͟"
Claude was a light to our family – he loved his wife of 17+ years and he adored his son. When you look at the pictures of them together, there’s no question of who and what he cared about. Within our family, Claude also got along with everyone. It’s not uncommon for there to be strife within a family where certain people don’t interact with other people; often for petty or insignificant reasons. In Claude’s case, he genuinely got along with the entire extended family and even had close relationships among members of my mother’s side of my family.
Claude was a light to his country. With almost 16 years of service with the U.S. Army Reserve, he retired in 2002 as a First Lieutenant Military Policeman.
Claude was a light to his homeland of Haiti. In the summer of 1997, he traveled to Haiti and spent 17 months there working as a Civil Police Instructor training men in the Haitian National Police Force; sharing his knowledge of how to be an excellent police officer with his fellow countrymen.
Claude was a light to his community. Not only did he serve for over 13 years as a Senior Patrolman with the Somerville Police Department, but he also participated in several fund raisers and charity events. He was a rider in the Police Unity Tour and he was about to go on the third annual motorcycle tour to Washington D.C. to honor fallen officers. I can only imagine how many people Claude touched in his role as a police officer as evidenced by the huge stream of people that came to pay their respects yesterday.
He was a light to his fellow riders. In 2003, Somerville PD started its new motorcycle patrol for the first time in 30 years and Claude was one of the first new motorcycle patrolmen. He was also an active member of the Thunder Motorcycle Club. I was moved to see the riders of Thunder as they honored him yesterday.
We are gathered here today to say goodbye to a great person who lit up our lives in a special way. I know we are all mourning his loss because we all enjoyed his light. Light is certainly a source of comfort and it is unpleasant when it is taken away. However, light is also used to show us the path in which we should go. We’ve lost a great source of light in our lives. However, that means we should follow his example and love with passion and with our actions. We can’t afford to let darkness fall. Let’s all shine our lights in his honor.
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