Monday, January 24, 2011

I Have Lost Yet Another Close Friend

I Have Lost Yet Another Close Friend
Al Ritter

As we get older we lose more and more friends, sometimes through just the aging process, from accident and sometimes through an insidious disease. We begrudgingly accept this as our inability to escape mortality, and we go on. I lost yet another friend due to the horrible disease of cancer late Saturday night.

I can count the number of close friends who made an indelible mark on my soul and heart, and that list of those who remain seems to get shorter each year. This weekend I lost such a friend.

To the business world he was a giant in the insurance industry. A man who was forced to succeed at a young age because of the premature passing of his father, Bill did what no man had done before. He created an insurance empire. Retired at an early age, Bill refused to sit still and branched out into more business ventures. Never satisfied to sit still, Bill excelled at almost every business venture he tried.

I have watched Bill for almost 5 decades, through thick and thin of his personal life, but I was always amazed how resilient he was. Adversity was merely a small tick of the clock in Bill’s life. His mantra always seemed to be, “it’s not how many times you fall down, but how you get back up.”

Bill and I, as some of you know shared the love of cars. Not to say that I collected them at anywhere the pace Bill did, but we shared that special bond. Bill collected the most desirable cars, while I collected the junk. Although we collected at VERY different levels, we both appreciated the fruits of our joint love.

Bill was my next door neighbor from the time I was 11 years old until Saturday night and many a conversation crossed our tongues in that wonderful time we had together. To many people who saw Bill in the business world, he was a giant, but to me, he was just my buddy Bill. We’d swap stories, drink some bourbon, and lay our lives out to each other. Not many of my close friends even have that capacity for life, let alone indulge to that degree.

Bill was my friend, my mentor, and my hero………I will miss him dearly.

William J. Salladin 1944-2011…… in peace my dear friend


Ally said...

I am so sorry for you loss Al, as well as the loss his wife is suffering and all his friends and family. Your lives were enriched by his being in them. His is a warm and loving light that I hope shines on for all of you, giving comfort and inspiration.

Kevin Bryant said...

Sorry for the loss of your friend

pamela m said...

I thought he was around my age. What a shame to leave this earth so young. I know you’ll miss him. Your tribute was beautiful.

barb p said...

Al, I am so sorry to hear about your loss, such a terrible loss. Truly dear friends are so precious and rare, we cannot afford to loose them, and the loss does not fade away; how well you already know this. You are a great friend to those few lucky enough to be in your 'circle of friends', please remember how precious you were to him also...fondly, Barb

jack h said...

Al, God Bless the memory of your friend, William!

Terri R said...

Sorry for your loss. And I consider you as one of those people I feel privileged to know and love... working on 2 decades!