Open mic night denizens and folk music devotees in Bradenton and Sarasota loved Ray "Rayzor" DeArcangelis's often biting but always witty lyrics. Unfortunately, at about 10:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 15, DeArcangelis was riding his motorcycle east on Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota when, at the corner of Sawyer Road, a red Mustang reportedly driven by an 18-year-old made an illegal left turn in front of him.
Mitch Green, who was following DeArcangelis "several car lengths back," said that even though DeArcangelis was not breathing and had no detectable pulse, he administered CPR using his "25-year-old Army training."
Green says emergency personnel were on the scene "within three minutes" and took over the resucitation atempt, but that it failed.
"The one consolation," Green said, "is that they figured he died instantly."
The young Mustang driver was crying, said Green, who recalls police saying he displayed no signs of alcohol or drug use and that no arrest was made at the scene.
Known to many but not known well
Bradenton folk music doyenne Karen Klosky remembers DeArcangelis as "a free spirit and a beautiful soul."
Klosky knew DeArcangelis from folk music jams in Bradenton and Sarasota, but knew little about where he came from or his personal life. To her, as with most people who knew DeArcangelis locally, his music was what they knew him by.
"He had his own style, and used humor in his music," Klosky said. "And he had staying power. He could play all night long."
Green, a musician himself, did not recognize DeArcangelis while he was trying to save his life, but later realized that they had met around town more than once, not only at musical gatherings but at meetings for people battling alcohol and drug addictions.
Klosky was not aware of Ray DeArcangelis's AA involvement. What she knew about him was that he "wrote a lot of songs" and had used her name in one of them -- and that they once danced together at a Village of the Arts party in Bradenton.
"He asked me to dance," she said, "and we danced, and my friend Dona giggled while we danced."
The only known video of DeArcangelis singing
This video was recorded by DeArcangelis in December 2008. It is tangible proof of his talent, and helps us remember a talented musician who touched many lives in Bradenton and Sarasota.
We miss you, Rayzor.