This is for Bill.
Bill is one of those guys that everyone loved. If you knew him, you loved him. It was as simple as that. When I first started working here, he was the first person to make me feel warmly welcome. He worked in the mailroom, so I saw him several times a day when he came by to drop off or pick up mail. He always had a smile, a joke, something to brighten up my day.
Over the year and a half that I worked with him, my love for him only increased. I learned that he had no love of stupidity, that he had a quick sense of humor, that he was very smart, that he was very fond of the “wild beer” (one of our inside jokes). Like my beloved father-in-law, he had a way of making every person feel like he or she was his special friend.
A few months ago he started having a lot of stomach pain. He wasn’t crazy about doctors and hadn’t been in quite some time, but when the pain continued, he finally up and went. The doctor started running test, and he had to give up the wild beer. It took a little while, but it was soon determined that he had liver cancer. Bill tried to keep working, but quickly found out that his body couldn’t handle it. When he left here, everyone was so sorry to see him go, including his replacement, who told me that she wished she hadn’t met him, because he was such a wonderful person that she hated to think she was trying to take his place.
He came up once to pick up his things, and I think he was a little startled and overwhelmed when everyone began rushing out from both sides of the building to greet him.
Yesterday afternoon I was given the news that he was in a coma and not expected to live very long. And about half an hour ago, I learned that he had passed away this morning. I’ve been crying ever since.
The world is a sadder place today, because Bill isn’t walking on her surface anymore. I grieve to know that I won’t get to joke with him about drinking the wild beer, or trade quips and wisecracks with him. I’m sorry I don’t get to hug him one last time and tell him I love him, but I’m so glad I did when he stopped in the last time. I’m so glad that I got to work with him and got to know him. Bill was a king among men, and I feel very privileged to have known him.
Here’s to you, Bill.