Occasionally I read the New York Times obituaries. Reading summaries of people’s lives reminds me of the truly important things in life and to stay focused on what really matters. Often I find words of inspiration, stories to light my way and quicken my step with smiles. It also makes me take pause and wonder how those I leave behind will choose to speak of me.
Recently I read about Louis Wolff, who died on March 22, 2009, at the ripe old age of 96. Lou evidently was quite the well-rounded guy. Not only did people speak of his joy and radiant smile, he also was an entrepreneur who co-founded a successful manufacturing company. He started working at age 10, worked through high school, and put himself through college at night. “When he wanted to get a job on Wall Street he went to the tallest building he could find, took the elevator to the top floor and started walking down, knocking on every door until he found a company that would hire him…. Eventually he found a job at Bear Stearns as a runner and ended up as head of its research department until joining the Army in 1941.”
Lou was married for 66 years (wow!) and managed to keep the spark alive: “Family and friends who came to visit almost always found them sitting together, still hold hands and touching each other with the same affection and love they had shared for almost seven decades.”
“Lou was a role model to all who knew him. He craved success only so that he could provide for his family and help others. He was never envious of the success of others and never said an unkind word about anyone, being generous and complimentary to everyone he met. We will remember his every act of integrity, compassion, courage and sacrifice that enriched, encouraged, or empowered others and we will try to emulate his example.”
I found myself moved by the legacy Lou left as a human being, and I also was impressed by his entrepreneurial initiative and resourcefulness, his willingness to knock on doors and put himself out there.
I find myself inspired to “try to emulate his example” as well.