Memorial Day was originally started to remember and honor the casualties of war. There are, however, other kinds of casualties and I would like to honor some of them today. So far as I know they are all still alive, and I am grateful to have been associated with them:
In 2003 Steve and I spent three weeks working together in Ireland. He had a good photographic eye, a good knowledge of the equipment, and a good way with people. He was always gracious. One could always count on Steve to quietly and efficiently do whatever he was asked. He would always deflect the credit; in Ireland he acted as though he was my assistant, though it was really the other way around.
Alison is a superb editor and an even better administrator. She could always be relied upon for an honest and candid opinion. She was fiercely defensive of those who worked under her. She could also get things done; she would pick up the slack and put in extra time, doing whatever menial task was necessary (indexing, typesetting, copy editing, running errands) to get the project done on time. She was a real pleasure to work with.
Witty, polished, and prolific, Dan Peterson has been a close friend of mine for over a quarter of a century. I cannot think of anyone who has worked harder on the projects he cared about. He has wide interests and is effective at fitting details into the big picture. He takes time to listen to others and is willing to consider and think through even unusual ideas. He is unfailingly articulate and genuinely charitable.
George is gentle and polished. He has an immense capacity to wade through nonsense knowing full well that it is nonsense. Unfailingly kind, he is genuinely concerned about and interested in what others are up to. He is also very wise about how to approach sensitive topics. I have never regretted following his advice.
Greg reminds me in many ways of the great Thomas Young. Like Young he is a physician, and like Young his interests and contributions stretch beyond medicine. He has a great capacity for work. He has read whatever I sent him and responded quickly and thoughtfully. He also has a great capacity for compassion which is good in both a physician and a person.
I had only a few encounters with Robert White, but it is hard not to be impressed. The author of at least four standard textbooks, he has an impressive list of academic credentials. Although he is a kind an gracious person, since he is also a Queen's Council, and a formidable opponent, I would dread being on the other side of an argument with him.
Another individual I would rather not argue with, Lou is a tenacious researcher who considers all sorts of angles before coming to a conclusion. He has also seen a great deal and dealt with copious amounts of nonsense over the years. Understandably, he has little patience for certain types of nonsense. He is surprisingly generous with his time. He is good for a two or three hour conversation if you bring up one of his favorite hobbies.
For a number of years, Dan and I shared the cubicles in a trailer. There was essentially no privacy there. It was Dan's task to handle the many queries that came in. He spent a great deal of his time on the phone dealing with them. He invariably was well-informed, courteous and kind. In his spare time, Dan found the time to be the sixth most productive researcher at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute.
Paula was a quiet, efficient editor. She effectively did the many thankless tasks placed on her. If things were delayed, it was usually because someone up the line was not doing their work on time. She patiently dealt with a number of haughty authors and demanding superiors.
I have known Paul for at least a quarter of a century. He is surprisingly optimistic even when things give no reason for optimism. He plows ahead with projects that seem interminable and makes progress. He is a good editor who gives useful critiques and guides recalcitrant authors along constantly improving the essays on which he works. He is quietly productive. Having been a former student I appreciate him as a colleague.
I pay tribute to these great individuals for the work that they have done and the influence they have been in my life.