By Diana Downing
Part 1. Getting there and arriving.
This is the boring part. On the road by 6 a.m. My brother Steve and I talk about how surreal this all is and I'm going to finally meet everyone I've been in contact with, Rick and the Milner family, for over a year. We finally arrive at the church at 9:30 a.m.
We pulled into the church parking lot to find a LAPD SUV and a man in a kilt wandering around. The officer in the SUV is unknown, but the kilted man was John and he is with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Dept. He also was there to play the bagpipes with the LA Police Emerald Society Pipe and Drum group. He's a very nice man, and is looking for what my brother and I are ... the bathrooms.
A few minutes later, Mark Galoustian pulls in with his vintage Ad12 era 1969 Belvedere police car. It's a beauty! It's parked on the mat right in front of the church doors. Needless to say, it's a big hit. But more than that, it's a tremendous tribute to Marty.
Soon Rick spots me and we hug. He asks Steve if he can help set up easels in the church to put oversize photos of Marty on them. These would later be put in the foyer and replaced by flowers in the church. This church isn't very big, but it's beautiful inside with stained glass all around. Perfect place for the service. The pews encircle the main platform where the Milner's friend, Cathy Norman, will officiate.
People begin to arrive and Rick tells me to sign the Condolence Book. I have the dubious honor of being the first. Then an assortment of police officers arrive in full uniforms. Many are LAPD, but some are from Burbank, San Diego, Carlsbad and other cities I can't remember. I run into my friend Mike Hagen, who is a retired Sgt with the LAPD. Also, the pipers are assembling in the foyer as well, so I go claim a pew seat and wait.
A few minutes later, all of us who are inside are asked to go outside so the pipers can do their last minute practice and the family is about to arrive. So off we go and Bill Reinhart, I'll speak of him later, brings me a chair to sit on while waiting. I'm at the trunk end of Mark's car and we chat as a white limo pulls up.
Out comes Judy, Molly, Stuart, and his wife Pati, Andy, the grand kids Jack, Sarah, and Andy. Also there were (Uncle) Al, Judy's brother, his wife Mary Beth, and many people I don't know by sight. They walk into the church and the doors are closed. So we wait....
Part 2. Marty's Memorial Service.After letting everyone back in, we found a place to sit in the very back row so I wouldn't trip anyone with my crutches. I sat between Steve and Michael Blake (who had worked with Marty as a child actor in Adam12).
The doors opened at the back, and in marched The LA Police Emerald Society Pipes and Drums group. They only perform for fallen officers, and the only other time they played for a civilian was at Jack Webb's service.
I don't know the name of the song they marched to, but it was awesome!
Cathy Norman, who officiated, has know the Milner family for a long time.
She mentioned how normal they all were, and among other things, whenever Marty would come into the house and ask,"can anyone give me a hand?", the family would all stand and applaud.
*The microphone wasn't set up right near most of them, so I didn't hear everything.
The first speaker was Judy's brother Al, who we call Uncle Al. He spoke of how Judy actually taught Marty how to really fish, and how she almost didn't go to the Hollywood party where she would meet Marty. He said they made a vow to be brothers for life ... and how he misses Marty so very much. Uncle Al is awesome.
Next was Marty's co-host on Let's Talk Hook Up, Pete Gray. He spoke of meeting Marty and how down to earth he was ... not to mention a fishing enthusiast! When Marty joined the show, they would go to events and sit in booths promoting the show. People would do double takes and point at Marty and say, "You're Malloy!!". He was friendly with anyone who'd stop and talk.
|Kent McCord, or Officer Jim Reed from Adam-12|
Adam-12 producer Tom Williams was very hard to hear, but he mentioned how Marty never needed to be shown where to 'hit his mark' in any scene. He always knew! He was a true professional and was a good friend.
William "Bill" Reinhart spoke next. He was a technical advisor on Ad12 for a few years. He mentioned the train track incident where Marty was told to drive over the tracks. Marty wanted chocks laid in order not to bottom out the patrol car, but the director said it was all ok. It bottomed out and Marty got called out for it. He then told the producers they could open their tight wallets and hire a stunt driver. They didn't mess with Marty again.
Last but not least ... Andy Milner. Andy is like a cricket on a barbecue, but you could tell how much he loved and missed his dad. He said he was the best dad ever and will be missed. After a few other things, Andy said he was in bed and asked his dad to tell him a story full of wonder and excitement. He then recited the entire "Do you know what this is" car speech from the pilot episode. He didn't miss a beat and had everyone whooping! He got a standing ovation! His dad would be proud!
Cathy Norman then came back and added how wonderful Marty was and how the things he did in his life affected so many people. She then said, "I think he's asking us to give him a hand". All of us stood and applauded for several minutes. *I'm in tears typing this.
Such a moving tribute to a very loving and loved man.
Part 3. Family and friends dinner after Marty's Memorial.I've been debating as to actually doing this. I don't want to sound like a 'name dropper', which makes my skin crawl. But in order to show you all how down to earth Marty's family and friends are, I'll have to mention names. So here goes...
After the service, we all headed to an Italian restaurant about 15-20 minutes away. I won't mention the name because the Milners live a few blocks away.
|Left to right, Bill Reinhart, technical advisor on Adam-12, |
Kent McCord, and Tom Williams, last surviving producer of Adam-12.
Now I didn't realize we had to go up stairs (gasp!), but I was told there was an elevator right near by. The door was open, so as Steve went up the stairs, I got in...with Judy! I told her who I was and she hugged me.She's very petite and bright-eyed and oh so sweet!
The place was starting to fill up and so I felt it would be best for me to find a place to sit and get out of the way.
Many people I had talked to at the church came up to me again ... Marty's sister in law, Mary Beth, said Hi again, (she's married to Uncle Al), and the place began to get loud with conversations and laughter.
We had two rooms upstairs, so many people I never saw/met like Kent McCord and his family. The wine flowed, I had water, and the place was jumping with happiness mixed with sadness as to why we were all here.
Rick came and sat with us and we talked until the food arrived ... salad, bread, and small pizzas fresh from the oven on small, flat baking stones. It was all delicious!
I had the pleasure of a nice lady come and sit next to me asking if I was "Diana". She was Carla Jones Applegate, Marty's caregiver for the last 5 years. She has become a very dear friend. And ... she adored Marty! She said he was the sweetest man ever!!!
As the time passed, and we knew we had a long journey back home, we decided to leave. I stopped by to say goodbye to Judy and she patted my hand, and Molly, who hugged me tight with tears in her eyes. I said her dad is here in spirit because of the fun and laughter!
As we were waiting for the elevator, Pati caught us and wanted to say goodbye and asked if we had met everyone. I told her we missed Stuart and Andy. She said, "Wait a minute", and ran off, then returned with Stuart and then grabbed Andy. Both of them resemble Marty, and both were very nice! Andy introduced us to his wife, Christina, who is very sweet. We all said our goodbyes, and Steve and I got into the elevator feeling very surreal indeed! Then in stepped Bill Reinhart (see Part 2) and he asked if I was Diana...and he shook my hand! He's such a nice man too!
As we drove away and headed back north, Steve and I were still shaking our heads. It was such a bittersweet day, but how blessed we were to meet so many kind and dear new friends. And all because of Martin Milner. Thank you Marty! You are loved and missed more than you could ever imagine.