Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bill Holmes (1955-2015)

I heard the sad news last week – Bill Holmes from Hart Advisers died.  Bill and I knew each other for almost 20 years and while we were not close, we were friends.  Every time I saw Bill he had a smile on his face and an upbeat story to tell.  

I was referred to this wonderful obituary in the Hartford (CT) Courant. 

Williams Holmes, and those who knew him well will know this, was the quintessence of what a man should be.  He loved his family powerfully, he was tenacious and intelligent in his work and he selflessly supported his friends.  His boisterous laugh and big personality filled not just rooms he inhabited but entire buildings.  He was a patient man, and took challenges in stride.  He was generous.  He was kind.  He made me laugh, although sometimes he just made himself laugh.  

Bill was outstanding in his work and was dedicated to it.  He loved his dogs, of which there were many and he spoiled every one of them.  His wish would be that they inherit the master bedroom, although they likely consider it theirs anyway.  

Bill was an active man – running, swimming, biking, skiing – always outside and always challenging himself and those around him.  He was so sad to leave us but he need not fear for the well-being of his family and friends.  

The gift he gave us for so many years is still with us and part of that gift is strength.  That strength that he showed and that he shared with those around him is what will carry us though this and it is just one of a thousand parts of each of us that he has created and that he will continue to touch and in which he will continue to be with us throughout our lives. 

William Holmes was a deeply loving man.  He showed his love for his family with every action.  His wife, Candace, and his children, Alexander and Juliana, will miss him every day and every night, with every step and every sip and in every hearty laugh.  Donations should be directed to the William H. Holmes Memorial Scholarship through the ICSC Foundation (www.icscfoundation.org/donate).  Choose Undergraduate Scholarship Fund and add a tribute to Bill Holmes.

The Pension Real Estate Association (PREA) conference this week will not feel the same without seeing Bill.  Condolences to his family, colleagues and friends.  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Life is a series of stories

Life is a series of stories – or at least that’s what I believe.  This weekend I joined seven of my childhood friends for a weekend reunion in Las Vegas and there were lots of stories.

About five years ago this same group got together. At that first ‘reunion’ we went around the table and each shared their life story since junior high school.  This time, we each gave our updates.  Three of the guys have been married to the same woman for a long, long time.  Several have had one or more marriages.  I was the only unmarried attendee. There were stories of children and even grandchildren.

While the life updates were interesting, the recollections from the past were terrific.  We laughed a lot - trying to remember people, places and things and in some cases debating what certain people we knew, way back then, might be doing now.  Each of us remembered something that the others didn’t – or perhaps a different version of the same recollection.  A few things came out that the subject of the story hadn’t even recalled himself!

We grew up playing sports in New York City.  Whatever the season was, that was what we did – baseball, football, basketball, roller hockey, etc.  Then there were the ‘street’ games – stoop ball, skully, box ball, stickball and others.  When in 5th grade, a group of us invited our teacher, Mrs. Taylor, to a New York Yankees baseball game.  She accepted.  It was a much different time.  Much more innocent and, we felt, safer.  Imagine that happening today - kids taking their teacher to a baseball game?  We reminisced about riding our bikes all over the place – long before there were bike lanes.  We were pretty much fearless back then. 

Everyone in the group has had a successful career in their own right:  three lawyers (one of the fellows related a story about bringing a case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court!), a physician turned administrator and now heading a very large U.S. medical group, two corporate executives, a former educator and me.  Two of the guys are already retired.  Others are considering / planning it.  Myself and one of the other fellows don't have the word 'retirement' in their vocabulary.

While the group had come from two different elementary schools, we hooked up in junior high school as a result being in the same ‘accelerated’ program.  That meant that we all skipped 8th grade. Big deal!  And, while we felt confident about our athletic skills, we’ve all openly admitted to having lagged in the area of social development – i.e. relationships with girls. 

The fascinating thing about our communication with each other is that it’s truly open.  It’s a great group of guys – we all get along, even if we don’t necessarily agree on where to go for meals…but that’s not unusual when you get a group of any eight people together, right?

As we went our separate ways today, talk was about the next time we’d get together…not waiting another five years and wondering if the next reunion should include spouses.  That should be an interesting discussion! And, there’ll no doubt be lots more stories…both new and those remembered from long ago.  Life is all about stories...n'est pas?

On the Road...
April 2:  Commercial / Institutional Real Estate Women's Leadership Workshop, New York City. Learn more and register here

Mar. 26 - 27:  PREA (Pension Real Estate Association) Spring Conference, Washington, DC. Learn more and register here

May 5:  Commercial / Institutional Real Estate Women's Leadership Workshop, Chicago, IL. Learn more and register here

May 6 - 7:  NAREIM Accounting and IT Meeting, Chicago, IL.  Learn more and register here

June 15 - 16:  IMN US Real Estate Opportunity and Private Fund Investing Forum, New York, NY.  Learn more and register here


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