Eulogy for Friend


Length: 1289 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

Eulogy for Friend


My name is Rick. I live in Carmel, California, a place also known as paradise. I work at the US Naval Postgraduate School, as chairman of one of the largest operations research departments in the country.

I completed my PhD degree in OR here at Georgia Tech, in 1975. John White (then new to Tech, now Chancellor of the University of Arkansas) gave me the kernel of an idea and, more importantly, he administered the one stiff kick in the rump that I needed to start my dissertation. From then on, I was nurtured and guided by Donovan Young.

The Don – don’t ask me why, but I remember graduate students referring to Professor Young as "the Don" – was in many ways the old fashioned, romantic ideal of a college professor. He was so smart, he was so energetic and entertaining, and he was incredibly attentive to students’ needs and interests. He cared about the currency and applicability of what he taught, preparing new notes for each class, devising extremely inventive homework and test problems, always dreaming up new applications. He cared not only about the students’ learning. He cared about them as people. He had passion and compassion.

Let me talk about his intellect. Does anyone remember having a childhood fantasy about spying on your elementary school teachers out of school? Usually, those fantasies involved some role reversal. I’ll confess to a fantasy I imagined as a 24-year-old graduate student. I dreamt that all the professors of Georgia Tech’s Industrial and Systems Engineering department were locked in a classroom taking a comprehensive exam. This exam covered every ISyE subject at a fundamental level, and each problem demanded clever insight and creativity. The rules of engagement were simple: closed-book, no time limit, you can’t leave till every question is answered correctly. Got the picture? Quite a scene.

Well, guess who left the room first?

Yes, I think Don was that smart. My image of the scene even includes the Don’s exit: can’t you picture that big bear of a man who somehow managed to move with lightness, his eyes sparkling, a big Texas grin on his face, and he’s whistling! Has there ever been another person on this planet who could whistle two tunes at a time, out of both sides of his mouth, harmoniously?

You have to admit Don’s physicality was impressive. And that voice! If a big Delta jet was flying over the old ISyE Building and Don was lecturing with the windows open, he would drown out the plane.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Eulogy for Friend." 123HelpMe.com. 24 Nov 2017
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=24010>.
Title Length Color Rating  
Eulogy for Friend Essay example - Eulogy for Friend Today we celebrate the life of my dear friend, Jerome. Jerome, you were my teacher, my mentor and my dear friend. You provided me your counsel and wisdom. You shared your joyous smile and laugh. You shared your zest for life and the passion for all those things that were important to you. I know you would want me to share my Jerome story with everyone. It is the story of a teacher and student, a mentor and a friend. In 1984, Jerome’s first year at Duke, I was a first year law student....   [tags: Eulogies Eulogy] 1102 words
(3.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Eulogy for Friend Essays - Eulogy for Friend Yesterday, as Martin's friends poured into town, I was struck by how many distinct sets of friends he had. Family, skaters, punks, his Swampland posse, his boys and his girls, Professors, colleagues, Ann Arbor friends, Chicago friends, cyberspace friends who'd never met him "in the flesh"... Trying to walk down the street with him was an exercise in frustration, as Martin's fans flocked to him like the Pied Piper. He was so much, to so many. One of his greatest gifts to us is each other....   [tags: Eulogies Eulogy] 882 words
(2.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Eulogy for Friend Essays - Eulogy for Friend Richie, Richie, Richie… I met Rich at freshman orientation at Lynchburg College in August, 1975. My freshman orientation packet said that I was to meet with my group at my assigned table in the dining hall. After getting my dinner, I found the right table and sat down across from another freshman. There was no one else at the table. I think it was fate. After what seemed like a couple of minutes, a conversation started. We talked about our hometowns. He told me that his family lived in Manassas, but that most of his life was spent in Naples, Italy....   [tags: Eulogies Eulogy] 914 words
(2.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Eulogy for Friend Essay examples - Eulogy for Friend On November 16th each of the individuals on this altar were to take part in what would have been the most special day in Michael’s life… the day he would have taken Stephanie’s hand in marriage. Instead we stand before you today and attempt to eulogize a great friend and beloved brother. Though our hearts are filled with much sadness on this day, our message is not one of despair, but one of hope, love, and celebration. Anyone who had the good fortune of spending time with Mike can attest to the wit and good humor, which he embodied....   [tags: Eulogies Eulogy] 730 words
(2.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Eulogy for Friend Essay example - Eulogy for Friend I'd like to say a few words of tribute to this special man, from me and on behalf of other close friends of his. When he heard the news of Alan's death, a mutual friend and colleague noted poignantly that Alan was a man that was non-judgmental. Alan accepted people largely for what they were and for who they were. Alan was a man without prejudice. His many friendships crossed the barriers of social position and educational background. And his spirit, his generosity, his warmth also reached through barriers of race and cultural background....   [tags: Eulogies Eulogy] 1316 words
(3.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Eulogy for Friend - Eulogy for Friend The last time I saw my friend Kevin, was at his wedding in 1997. He was always a late bloomer, (Kevin had been the last of my friends to date), and we were all delighted to see him married for the first time at 44. After years of delay and false starts, his marriage to Diana gave us all the sense that he was finally on his way. I remember the first time I saw him, entering my second grade class, gangly even then, all arms and legs and elbows akimbo. Years later, those elbows became sharp weapons as we played basketball for hours on end....   [tags: Eulogies Eulogy] 1594 words
(4.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay about Eulogy for Friend - Eulogy for Friend The phone rang in the early hours of the morning. Rolf G. informed us that Michael had suffered a heart attack a few hours earlier and had not survived. My wife whispered a few words I could not hear, sat silently on the edge of the bed for a moment, then turned to me and said, "Michael passed away at the airport, its just not fair. He was doing so well." No, it was just not fair. We try to share with Michael's family, with Kathy, Molly and Tom, Molly, Clint and Wendy and their families the grief they feel, but it is not really in our power to do so....   [tags: Eulogies Eulogy] 1495 words
(4.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Eulogy for Friend Essays - Eulogy for Friend Three days ago I was working on a lecture dealing with a prominent figure on the French literary scene who happens to be a Sephardic Jew. He pictures the Jew as essentially a wounded man, one racked by his Jewishness. The world for him is a desert, and God is enwrapped in silence. For him the keynote is exile, the stuff of his writing a kind of brave despair. The news of Hays's death broke into my thoughts on this, and it occurred to me that his philosophy of life could be expressed by reversing this writer's terms....   [tags: Eulogies Eulogy] 775 words
(2.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Eulogy for Friend Essay examples - Eulogy for Friend My name is Deborah, and I’m one of Ron’s many friends. Karen asked me to share about Ron from a biker’s point of view. At many memorial services, eulogies are sort of like fish stories. Mean people are suddenly remembered as good-natured, self-centered people as generous, sinners as saints. Positive traits are exaggerated, negative ones swept under the rug. But today, it’s not necessary to stretch the truth. With Ron, what you saw was what you got. He refused to play games with people, and he was adamant that he “didn’t have time for nonsense” like politics and petty disputes....   [tags: Eulogies Eulogy] 1054 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Eulogy for Friend Essay example - Eulogy for Friend My name is Rick. I live in Carmel, California, a place also known as paradise. I work at the US Naval Postgraduate School, as chairman of one of the largest operations research departments in the country. I completed my PhD degree in OR here at Georgia Tech, in 1975. John White (then new to Tech, now Chancellor of the University of Arkansas) gave me the kernel of an idea and, more importantly, he administered the one stiff kick in the rump that I needed to start my dissertation....   [tags: Eulogies Eulogy] 1289 words
(3.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

Related Searches




He knew how to use his voice so well, both loudly and softly. It was one of his best musical instruments.

Others will speak today about Don’s immense musical talent, so I’ll return briefly to the academic domain. Parenthetically, I should probably try to recover some good graces with my other brilliant professors – you know, the ones so rudely left sitting at the comprehensive exam.

I studied at Tech from 1972-75, known in the modern era as Year 13 to Year 10, B.N., before Nemhauser. My contemporaries included Luis Contreras (who also worked with Don), Bruce Schmeiser, Jim Evans, Bob Bulfin, Chan Park, Jeff Kennington, Warren Langley, Ron Rardin, Mark Karwan. Not a bad lot. But I have to admit that Georgia Tech ISyE did not yet enjoy the reputation it has today on one of the highest perches of the academic pantheon. Don was a generalist in era that was turning to specialists.

And, oh, what a generalist! Don’s vocabulary was amazing for a person in any field, let alone engineering. His most ruthless use of his vocabulary was in Scrabble. He was unbeatable at that game. His passion for knowledge extended far beyond ISyE. For a while, along with working as an engineering professor and a jazz artist, he was also a regular book reviewer for the Atlanta Constitution. He read and wrote about everything from science and the environment to South American literature (which he could read in the original Spanish). I remember when the celebrated Argentinean author Jorges Luis Borges wrote a letter to the editor praising Don’s perceptive observations and quibbling over a neologism.

Do you know how Don lost that gig? The Editor used to send him a big box of books every month. Don read them all, selected his favorites and wrote reviews on the best. The Editor complained that he only wrote good reviews. Why not pan a few bad books? Don replied that the purpose of book reviews should be to help people decide which books to read among the thousands of new titles appearing every year. Like a good operations researcher, he was optimally allocating his effort and the readers’ attention to the best books. Evidently, newspaper editors don’t think like operations researchers.

Like everyone here, the news put me in shock. Strangely, it also infused me with energy, as if some of Don’s vast store of energy had been released for the rest of us. I worked that night till 2 a.m., as Don often did. Much of that time I was productive, at other times just reflective. Unlike Don after a late night, I avoided the office early that morning. I went down to the beach and thought about him.

When Stephanie called to tell me the terrible news, she was surprised that I already knew. I had received email from some Army officers. Sadness had spread very quickly within the Army operations research community. Don was greatly appreciated in that world after he served as a visiting professor at West Point.

Hearing Stephanie’s voice reminded me of fond memories of Don’s family. Let me turn to them now. [His first wife] Carolyn typed my dissertation. I had many joyful visits to Don and Carolyn’s farm. I especially remember the fantastic meals we prepared together. We would go out and pick mounds of incredibly fresh and flavorful vegetables, and then prepare a lavish feast amidst lots of laughter and music. Don was, of course, the MC and sensualist-in-chief.

When Stephanie was a teenager, maybe because she was getting obstreperous or maybe just for a change of scenery, she came to visit us in Knoxville. Stephanie witnessed one of the most exciting moments of my life – the first steps ever taken by my oldest daughter. If you can believe it, Stephanie, that baby is now spending her junior year of college in Madrid.

It was an awesome honor that Don and Carolyn trusted us with their children. I see that Stephanie and Ginny are now mature mothers. I only wish they were out on the West Coast, so we could have a place to send obstreperous teenagers.

Well, Becky, you know how everyone here today wants to comfort you in your time of immeasurable sorrow. I will never forget the time Don introduced me to Becky. We had a wonderful dinner at their home. (Becky can even make Brussels sprouts taste good.) Don and Becky were so gracious as hosts, so inspirational as a loving couple.

Though that was the only time I ever spent with Don and Becky, I have heard him talk about her many times. He always referred to her as "Becky Blankenship." He loved everything about the woman, even the sound of her full name. He spoke her name often.

God has blessed us with a man of great passion and compassion, an incomparable bundle of energy, talent, creativity and intellect, a lover and a friend. We miss him.

Friends, I have a closing piece of advice. Save the money and make the time to go visit your friends. Go visit your friends! I have been away from Atlanta too long. God, I wish Don was here for this visit.


Return to 123HelpMe.com