Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What Will Your Legacy Be?

As many who read this space will know, my nearly 91-year-old father passed away late last year.  As his executor, I've been through all of his stuff multiple times - including records of his military service, numerous advanced degrees, memberships in scholarly societies, certificates of appreciation, news clippings of his accomplishments collected by my mother, etc., as well, of course, as his financial records.  All very impressive, perhaps with the exception of the latter.  Yet the most amazingly consistent comment I get from people both far and near since his death (some of whom I am barely acquainted with) is "he was a real gentleman".  It is always the first - and sometimes the only - comment made about him.  No one gives a hoot as to whether he was "well off" (he cared little for money as long as he could ski and sail with his kids), or whether he was a good "family man" (he was), or whether anything has been named after him (it hasn't).  Nobody mentions his practice of medicine, his public service, or his professional contributions.  Nope, no one mentions anything about him other than to reiterate over and over again that "he was a real gentleman".  And as the modest man he was, I think he'd like that.