Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Beautiful Life

Requiescat in pace, dear neighbor.
©Jeannie B. Thomas

          A light went out in Kansas City last Thursday, and Monday K and I paid our last respects to our dear neighbor and cherished friend. We were just two among what looked like half the population of Kansas City, for our friend was both widely admired and widely loved—not an easy thing for a lawyer to achieve.

          He was an exceptionally easy person to love—ethical, compassionate, fair, funny. He was very intelligent, and yet he never felt the need to display his intellect at anyone else's expense.

          He had other skills in addition to his legal ones. If you read this blog regularly, you are probably aware of my feelings about pie, and of my opinion about my own pie skills. When I say that my neighbor made a better apple pie than I do, you will understand that this is high praise indeed.

          It is hardly a kind comparison, but as I wept at my neighbor's funeral service not only because I will miss him terribly but because he left us all far too soon, I couldn't help thinking of a man I mentioned in an earlier post—a man whose hatreds were so strong that they brought him a kind of fame, and were listed in his obituary as though they were accomplishments.

          What did my neighbor accomplish in his life? Well, none of his accomplishments had to do with hatred. He mentored young lawyers and modeled ethics, honesty, fair dealing and compassion for them. He gave back to his community both in his professional life and in his private life. He lived his faith through his charitable works. He was funny. He was loving. He gave everyone who knew him the example of a life well-lived: a life filled with love and service.

          I will miss him so.

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