Monday, December 21, 2009

I very much wish this wasn't my 1,000th post: Neil Kelly, age 55, RIP

I started this blog in April 2004, and now my 1,000th post is about the death of a friend last week, my climbing partner Neil Kelly, killed in a car accident on his way to work.

This blog isn't generally about personal events, but I just want to recognize Neil as a self-made man in a very different sense from what you usually hear in news reports about billionaires. Neil had a more tumultuous life as a younger man long before I knew him, but from that he constructed a stable and happy life for himself and everyone who was part of it - his wife Colleen, their kids, and of course all his many friends and colleagues. I think it's a far more unusual accomplishment than sacrificing everything for the sake of making a lot of money.

We have his black-and-white photograph of bristlecone pines from the White Mountains in our condo, and also here is the monstrous-sized treadmill that Neil, another friend and I scraped through the hall, up the stairs, and around various twists into the bedroom. And I shouldn't omit what a good climbing partner he was - very safe, and always encouraging.

He was part of our lives and will be missed.

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