This week my Mother lost her husband of 68 years. My brother and I lost our Dad. While he was a leader in his church, home, business, and community, he was most of all a servant.
He had no college degrees, but was well educated and had an abundance of common sense. Chief, as we called him, believed in work and applied that ethic to those around him.
In the appliance business that bore his name for more than 40 years, he didn't want anyone to lean on the merchandise. If things were slow, he would find things for us to do…we have cleaned the same truck multiple times in a day.
While having Sunday lunch with our parents years after my brother and I had begun practicing our trades, one of us quipped, "Chief, the day that we are no longer excited about what we are doing, we hope that you will save a place for us in the appliance business." Without hesitating he replied, "The day you cease to be excited about what you are doing, I don't want you selling appliances."
One day he informed us that he was going to sell his business, but first he would get jobs for his employees. Months later another call announced that the sale had "fallen through". I told him that I understood…Bill Gates did not have enough money to buy that business.
His greatest concern had always been what someone would do with his name over the door. With grandchildren helping him, his final day was to close the doors, put the manual cash register in the truck and take his name home with him.
The lesson that this teacher leaves is to serve others, work hard, and earn a name that you are proud to take home with you.