A Los Angeles Police Department officer killed when his motorcycle collided with a car was remembered as a quiet and hard working man who was devoted to his wife and six children.
Raymond A. “Skip” Messerly, Jr., 42, was eulogized by his longtime friend, Officer Bruce Christensen, as someone who would go out of his way to help others.
“Skip was a worker, not a talker,” said Christensen, who trained Messerly when the Vietnam veteran joined the police force 11 years ago. “Skip could work on anything. He would take his own time to help you.”
Messerly died Oct. 22, 1992, the day after he collided with a car and was thrown from his motorcycle while pursuing a traffic violator.
“Goodbye Ray, Skip, Officer Messerly, and to the fortunate few, Dad,” Christensen said. “It’s 9 Mary 103, Oct. 22, 1992. 9 Mary 103, end of watch.”
The “9 Mary 103” reference was to Messerly’s radio call numbers at the time of the accident.
Officer Edward Hale sang “Amazing Grace” while another accompanied on guitar at the service, which was attended by 1,500 officers, friends, and relatives at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley.
An officer explained that while serving as a pall bearer at another officer’s funeral earlier this year, Messerly had asked that Hale sing the hymn at his service if he were killed in the line-of-duty.
The flag-draped casket was surrounded by bouquets of flowers and flanked by a photograph of Messerly. After the brief tribute, a cavalcade of motorcycle officers from the California Highway Patrol as well as contingents of officers from Santa Barbara, Chino, Ontario, Montclair, Claremont, and other Southern California agencies drove to Mission Hills, where Messerly was buried.
Police Chief Willie L. Williams handed the flag to the officer’s widow, Marie Messerly, during the burial service.
Former Police Chief Daryl F. Gates attended, as did Councilman Nate Holden and other dignitaries.
At the burial, “Amazing Grace” was played on bag pipes, and “Taps” was performed on the bugle.
An honor guard from the Air Force, in which Messerly was in the reserves, was present at the burial as was an Los Angeles Police Dept. honor guard.
Messerly is survived by his widow, Marie, and six children, Renee, 18, Ryan, 15, Lisa, 13, and triplets Raymond, Ronnie, and Richard, 11.