I have used the word ‘curmudgeon’ to label myself for a long time in my blogs. I hope I do not look like the picture one finds if you were to Google the word curmudgeon, but I have fancied myself as acting a bit curmudgeonly from time to time, and sort of wore that as a badge of honor as it were.
I received the news that a guy who is no doubt more curmudgeonly than me has passed from this life. Bob Gilray, a long-time acquaintance from our mutual employee benefits/insurance world has died in Alabama where he spent the bulk of his retirement years.
Bob was one of those wonderful guys who could move you from the doldrums to laughing out loud in seconds. And, if you somehow didn’t complete that journey in what he deemed a timely manner, he’d work on you some more until you finally had to give up and give out with a belly laugh. He was also able, and willing, to call you or anyone else out if you didn’t make sense as he saw that word defined. He was the consummate professional insurance person and I’m sure he handled his clients with the deft touch of the pro he was.
There was hardly a moment when Bob was in the room that he wasn’t the center or near-center of what was happening. That was simply his nature and it wasn’t overwhelming. It was simply who and what Bob Gilray was. I had lost touch with him when I left the world of employee benefits and often thought about where he was and what he was up to from time to time.
I missed seeing Bob but simply knew he was still with us until this morning when I received a message from another friend who had known him for a long, long time telling me he had died. We exchanged some remembrances and that brought Bob right back to the center of mind; his antics, his verbal outbursts, his big laugh and his ability to get under one’s skin were gifts to those of us were had been fortunate enough to move in his circle for at least a bit of time.
I’m gonna’ have to sharpen up my ‘curmudgeon’ skill set now that Bob is gone. Those will be huge shoes to fill.
Rest in peace Bob.