Today, we say goodbye to a wonderful friend and a great American. Wallace L Tharp (Wally) was born August 21, 1921 and he passed away peacefully in his sleep on January 21, 2015. His 93 years were filled with all kinds of adventures, lots of love, wisdom and friendship.
I met Wally 15 years ago and we became fast friends! When a 6' 4" regal gentleman addresses you and says, "Congratulations Madame Area Governor- you have just been elected to this Toastmaster's office so; is it a title or are you REALLY going to do the job?", you have a couple of choices! #1- Answer politely and move on or 2- honor that amazingly honest question and develop a friendship. I chose option #2!
Over the past 15 years, I learned many things from Wally and since many of those things apply to business, I thought today would be a good time to share some of his golden nuggets! These are Wally's Gifts!
G: GRATITUDE Wally approached every day with a tremendous sense of Gratitude. Flowers, children, technology and above all friendship, were treasures to this great man. He never missed an opportunity to say thank you and he always wanted to make sure he had taken the necessary steps to let those around him know how much he appreciated them. In business, this sense of Gratitude can really help us to handle the more tumultuous times in our lives. Having an ever present sense of Gratitude served Wally well over his 93 years and adopting his attitude will help you both personally and in your business dealings.
I: INTEGRITY Wally was a man of his word. If he told you he was going to something; you could take it to the bank. He found it curious that there were so many incidences of 'integrity lapses' in the headlines and we would often talk about the 'old days' when a man's good word was one of the most important assets he could have. It is no surprise that Integrity in business is part of a foundation that is not easily shaken. While it may not be the most common of values- it is certainly one that I got to witness during my many years of friendship with Wally.
F: FRIENDSHIP One of the most amazing things I learned from Wally was how important it was to cherish and cultivate your friendships. When you are blessed to live to be 93 years old, the truth is you outlive most of your friends and many of your family members. I guess this is why he treasured friendship so much! For the past several years, we spent most Saturday mornings together and Wally ALWAYS greeted each day as if it had been forever since he had seen me. He made me feel so important and special. It didn't stop with the greeting either! Wally never checked his email, responded to a text or took a phone call during our weekly visits. He was fully engaged and present during the moments we shared together. This lesson, taken to heart, is one that has the power to transform personal and business relationships.
T: TENACITY Anyone who knew Wally, knew that he had an intense passion for the proper placement of the American Flag. When he noticed that the flag at the Vancouver Veteran's Memorial was improperly displayed, he took action and he kept on taking action.....for over a decade. He did not waiver or rest until the flag was displayed properly. It did not matter to him that his position was not popular or that he encountered lots of negative pushback. That kind of Tenacity is rare and potent! His amazing example left me feeling as if there was nothing I could not accomplish both personally and professionally.
I was blessed to have spent a lot of time with my friend and now that he is gone, life will never be the same. I take comfort knowing that Wally's Gifts are the kind that will keep on giving for many years to come. I will miss him dearly and I hope that you have the enormous honor and priviledge to have a friend like him one day.
Rest in Peace Wally and thank you for all of your wonderful GIFTS!
P.S. Thank you for helping me see what was possible so many years ago as we worked together to win Area Governor of the year.
We Did It My Friend!