There are three people I wanted to mention today (not my immediate family, although I love those three dearly). These are three people I go to church with (or used to).
The first is an older gentleman - I won't name him, but he is just a great guy. He is widowed and walks down the aisle a little slower than he used to. He's not a flashy man. When I consider the "movers and shakers" in the big city of Cleveland, Tennessee, he won't necessarily come to mind. However, I've admired this man for years now. He is solid as a rock, kind, and I'm sure has no idea how much respect I (and probably others) have for him.
The second is Buddy Patten, who passed away in January of 2001. Buddy was a fixture of St. Luke's Episcopal Church and leader in the community. I'd like to tell you my favorite memory of him: In the late '90's, Buddy came to my office - I was just a year or two into my practice, trying to earn a reputation. Anyhow, Buddy comes in and tells me that he has decided to pull his accounting from a very respected local CPA firm and let me do the work for him. His rationale was that since I did volunteer things for the church, he wanted me to do his work - I think he was just being kind and wanted to help me get going in my practice! I'll always be grateful to him for this.
Buddy was so meticulous about his income taxes, he would work through them via a Lotus 1.2.3 spreadsheet (remember that program?), and already have a VERY close estimate as to his final tax liability. I worked harder on that return than almost any other, terrified that I would make a mistake and disappoint him!!
Jane Patten passed away on March 18 of this year. Jane, as you might know, was Buddy's wife. When my family moved from Haverhill, England to Cleveland, Tennessee, Jane was the first person to take the time to make us feel welcome - She showed my Mother great kindness as Mom transitioned from an English Air Force wife to a transplanted Tennessean.
After Buddy passed away, and as it became more difficult for Jane to get around, I would deliver her tax returns to her. Jane would always have a pot of flavored coffee and some cookies waiting for me. We'd talk for a while and then I'd go back to the tax season rat race, having enjoyed a little time with a gracious woman.
I'm glad the first gentleman is still around, and I'm glad to have known both Jane and Buddy.