Wednesday, July 11, 2007

And when he lived he lived!

I came to know yesterday that the CEO of the company I used to work for in US passed away last week. He was 80 something and died of a heart attack while sailing on a boat with his wife and daughter! Not only did this man live well, he also died well! No prolonged agony - no months of deterioration, vegetating in a wheelchair being unable to care for himself, frustrating himself and others...Just a quick and a simple death while he was doing what he loved, among the company of those he loved!

And when he lived he lived! I didn't know him very well....But I've seen his infectious enthusiasm and his high energy. I know he loved the company that he started from scratch based on an idea and developed into one of the most well known luminaire manufacturers in N.America. I know he loved his family. I know he loved sailing. Sounds like a pretty good life to me! Actually change 'pretty good' to 'fantastic' in the previous sentence. I don't know many others who at 80 something were still actively running their company and coming up with innovative solutions everyday!

I saw him last year at Lightfair in Las Vegas and he was his usual self then, asking about Calgary and my married life and showing me the new products displayed in the room. I was so sure I would be seeing him again at the next one I'd be attending a couple of years from now!

I cannot say he was a sweet old man because he wasn't - at least not all the time. He could be gruff and stubborn with a cranky temper to boot and I was sometimes incredibly nervous around him. Yet, I immensely admired this very stubbornness and his insistence on doing things HIS way. The customer was seen as a person who must be educated in the use of better lighting instead of being pandered to by offering cheap low quality products. Accordingly his company was associated with quality and I am extremely proud to have worked there.

I am glad to have known him even if it was a short time and my interaction with him was limited.

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