Friday, June 18, 2010

A Good Man Passed On Yesterday

Two of my closest friends - Phil and Rob (who are brothers) - lost their dad yesterday afternoon.

He was a good man.

The obituary hasn't been posted yet, but when it is I'll post it here.

In the meantime, just a few words:

Phil Leiter was an American. I mean he was an "old school" American. Tough. Opinionated. Fair. Generous. Phil was a no bullshit kinda guy.

He worked. That's what Americans of his generation did.

He built a business, supported his family, did what he had to do, and the result can be seen in how his "kids" - Phil, Rob, Susan, and Linda - turned out.

They all turned out ok. Better than ok in fact.

Their mom - Fran - will now persevere without her husband. She's tough - as tough as Phil was. She'll be ok. Phil was the patriarch. Fran is the matriarch.

Phil always reminded me of my own dad - who passed in '89.

Like my own dad, Phil was of that generation of men who carried cash in their wallets and who prided themselves in being "givers," not "takers." Phil was the kind of guy who picked up the tab at a restaurant and if you knew what was good for you... you didn't argue.

That was my dad too. To men of that generation it didn't matter if you were flush or not. You were always "in character" and by that I don't mean it was "an act." Nope. It was the real deal. It's a thing called pride. If in reality money was tight in a particular week or month, you still outwardly made sure no one else knew and if that meant picking up a impromptu dinner tab and then making up for it by going without your own lunches for a week - or a month - so be it.

Phil played handball, racquetball, and paddleball. I do too. He was a big guy, physically imposing with a voice and manner to match. Gruff? To some. Me...??? I always looked upon him not as "gruff," but as "no nonsense." As his daughter Susan put it so well a couple days ago, her father was an iconic figure to the younger members of their extended family.

Well, Susan... he was an iconic figure to me as well.

Anyway... when the obituary is published I'll post it here, on this thread. I'll leave it to the family to describe a man I was privileged to know for, oh... near on 29 years now.

In the meantime, I just felt the need to post this our of respect, and yes, love.

Rest in Peace, Phil.

* Obituary

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