Friday, July 10, 2009


The only use I have for the New York Times is the obit page. Seriously. Whether the people listed there are famous, not-so-famous, infamous or otherwise, most times it's a history lesson.

The man I read about today lived a long and successful life. I'm sure he was famous in the corporate world, but in general I don't think he was known to that many. His life, however, is worth reading about. While reading his obit, I found that we had a couple things in common. Nothing important.

First, he attended school at the University of Illinois at Urbana, my birthplace. Second, we had the same hero: General George S. Patton, Jr. Now, my knowledge of Patton comes from history books, documentaries and movies. In the Patton department, this man had a slight edge on me: He fought under Patton's command for four-and-a-half years, up to and including The Battle of the Bulge. The military was just a small slice of his life, though. His story is really about America and the vast opportunities she provides us. I hope she still does.

This man was born at the front end of the 20th century, starting out in life with nothing. And he might well have come to the end of his life with just that, nothing, had his sister not changed her mind one day early in his life. Life's funny that way. Instead he left his mark on American industry.

One more thing. Because of investments in his corporation, I have a feeling there are many who enjoy a richer retirement today. Just a feeling.

Read about the man here.

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