Are you kidding me?

That's what I said when I got the call a little while ago that a dear friend had passed away. My friend Patti explained that she was not in fact kidding me. I explained that I didn't mean it like it sounded, but that I just cannot believe it myself and that's what my brain was saying but my mouth recited it. I didn't say much else after that because I didn't know what to say. This person, George, had been a dear friend to me for a long time. He was so good to me...to anyone, really. So positive, so personable, so caring and considerate. Not only was he a friend I met in my professional world through HDI, but he was also my grandma's neighbor and then my mother's once she moved into my grandmother's house.

George could always be counted on for a hug or a word of encouragement. When things went awry with my marriage, during my separation, and finally my divorce, he would always check on me when he saw me and didn't let me get away with "I'm fine." I could also tell him I can't talk about it because if I did I would cry and he was good with that. He had one of those voices that boomed and a way about him that was reminiscent of my grandfathers...he was a presence in a room; people wanted to be near him and listen to him tell his stories. George is the kind of man that anyone who was lucky enough to call friend was blessed in doing so.

George was a family man and served in the Air Force. He was a loving family man who always spoke with pride about his boys as well as his wife Marilyn's children and grandchildren. One of his sons is also in the Air Force and he was blessed to see him a few weeks ago in Las Vegas while there for the HDI conference. George was so respected by his team that they nominated him for manager of the year. He won. His wife said he spent his last day on his Harley and then had a nice dinner out with his family. She said he went out on the top of the world having enjoyed the things he loved most in his last weeks. I am thankful to have seen him myself just about 10 days ago. As usual he hugged me and called me kiddo as he was apt to do.

I will miss you, Georgie! May you rest in peace, my dear friend! Love and hugs and I'll see you when I get there!
George and his wife, Marilyn

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