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Godspeed, Chuck!


One of the main reasons I retired from banking was that it seemed the bank’s most “difficult” customers were usually assigned to me.  So, when I started my own practice after retiring, the first rule was “No jerks allowed!”  If I didn’t like a client personally, they could not be my client.  The downside is that it hurts me when I lose one, as they are also my friends.

We got the call at eleven o’clock last night that it was time to say good-bye, and we were on-our-way within 15 minutes.  By the time we returned home at four this morning, our emotions were drained flat.  We loved that old guy and will miss him terribly.  After all, he has been my client for twenty years and, like all my clients, he was my friend.

He was a child of the Great Depression, who earned a college degree in 1951 and then great wealth.  Yet, he always lived modestly and remained very humble.  A proud veteran of World War II, he wore his patriotism quietly.  A devout, lifelong Episcopalian, he also wore his love of God quietly.  A husband of almost sixty years, their lives revolved around each other.  They spent countless hours together touring by bicycle.  Their one expensive indulgence was travel, and they traveled the world extensively.

Their greatest heartbreak was the loss of their only child shortly after he graduated from college, when he was hit by a drunk driver.  They always carried that extraordinarily  heavy pain, but they wore it quietly, of course.

Chuck taught me many things.  I tend to be intellectually arrogant, and he taught me humility.  I tend to be confrontational, and he taught me to be more accepting.  I tend to be aggressive, and he taught me good things will come without that.  He made me more tolerant.

He taught me you don’t have to wear your money on your wrist.  You don’t have to wear your private religion as a public badge.  You don’t have to wear your patriotism as a mindless uniform.  You can love all these things, and you can do it privately.  Yes, he taught me much!

Thank you, Chuck, for being my client, my teacher, and my friend.  I miss you terribly.

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