I received a surprised Facebook message this morning from the wife of my former mentor, Joe DeFranco. Joe was a member the Board of Directors when I was hired as a partner into an environmental engineering firm when I left state government way back in 1988. He taught me the basics of running a successful and profitable company with the mantra of: “cashflow, cashflow, cashflow”. Nine years later, after I and my partners sold our firm, I used that mantra and many of the other little secrets he drilled into my head to open up my own environmental company which also was very profitable. I owe it all to Joe and the wisdom he shared with me.
Barbara, his wife of over 70 years, posted a message to me this morning asking me to call her. What a wonderful surprise! I immediately called and thoroughly enjoyed talking with this warm and gentle lady. She shared with me that Joe quietly passed away this last February when we were still sailing around the West indies. She shared that he was ready to go and while that helped ease my pain, it was still a shock. Joe was a rock, a person who was an Icon in industry, and a person who helped so many people throughout their lives. He will be sorely missed, not just by me but by all of those who he impacted in such a positive way.
Barbara, while 91 years old, is doing very well and, in fact, shared with me that she will be flying over to Hawaii in a couple of weeks to enjoy Thanksgiving with one of her daughters. We are going to try to squeeze in a visit in the next couple of days if we can. Our stay in So Cal is truncated as we wish to drive up to San Francisco this Friday to attend our granddaughter’s Baptism on Sunday. Thus, we will not be able to see as many of our old and dear friends as we had originally hoped. As we all get older, missed opportunities are more and more significant.
Speaking of dear friends, we were able to spend the evening over a delicious dinner with Ann and Steve, two former neighbors from when we lived in Dana Point. Ann and Mary Margaret were “Dippy Dolphins” during the 7 years we lived there. Dippy Dolphins is the name of the water aerobics class that is still being held 3 times a week in the neighborhood’s community pool. Steve shared with us that he and three other men have joined the 30 or so women who so enjoy this form of exercise. In fact, they have invited us to join them and see a number of our former neighbors early tomorrow morning during their next meeting. We plan on grabbing our swimming suits and will brave the waters with them. I have a cousin who lives just a few miles away that I wish to see and since Dippy’s is on the way, it is an opportunity we do not wish to miss!
We also were able to see another dear friend today, Maggie. Maggie is our CPA and we have known her for 28 years. She helped Mary Margaret manage the financial side of our firm and we have recommended her to a number of our friends over the years who now use her also. It was great to see her and see that she is doing well.
Squeezed into this busy day Mary Margaret also visited a specialist who finished implanting a post into her jaw so that our dentist, Dr. Sal, can install a crown this Thursday. Since we have previously been in the States just for a couple of months each year, this procedure has taken three years to get to this stage. In just a couple of day, it will be all over. Yea!