Didn't know him. Not at all. Never met him probably, although he might have been in a classroom sometime long ago when I visited his high school. I didn't know his wife or his family either, nor had I ever met them that I know of. But he was just a kid, too young to die.
His obit is so lovingly written that I could only hope to do it that well myself.
I'm embarrassed to admit it, embarrassed because it took graduate school to teach me something it's hard to imagine I didn't learn much earlier. I don't want to blame my teachers. I don't think of them as nincompoops. If I didn't learn what I should, I probably wasn't listening.
But I'll never forget working on some graduate school research paper—probably something about John Milton—and stumbling on history so elementary I was embarrassed I didn't know it.
As we walked out of a room where my 95-year-old father-in-law had just had an eye exam, he wheeled his walker into a waiting-room area. To say the least, he's not quick on his feet. What's more, he needs at least four. One of these days that walker will be closeted, and he'll have to back into a wheelchair. I know he dreads it.