You Lived a Life of Encouragement
Harold C. Smith, a dear friend of mine, passed away suddenly Monday afternoon. He was our Toastmaster Club’s Sargent of Arms, and filled the unbelievably demanding role of the Vice President of Education. As a Toastmaster, you have constant opportunities to speak within the club atmosphere. Over the almost two years of my membership, part of it as the President, I had more time to acquaint myself with him than the average “Toastie.” He had a relax, life will come when it gets here and we’ll all enjoy it, kind of attitude. He loved to philosophize about aspects of his childhood, growing up on a ranch, the weather, life-outlooks, and all things concerning Goldwingers. His passion lay in helping others achieve within our club. He knew and believed in what Toastmasters had done for him, and spent time making sure our club kept moving forward.
When someone who puts as much dedication and heart into something like he did for us, he makes it his own. Our club is imprinted with that same attitude of; relax life will come when it gets here and we will all enjoy it together. How can a group of people reflect one person so much? Easy, he who puts the most into something, gets the most out of it. Harold poured himself into Club Med Toastmasters at every meeting, even when we knew he was struggling or didn’t feel good. It’s as if the club were molded for all time with a cast of his hope and dedication. I find it hard knowing how to move on. I struggle with the comprehension of filling the enormous shoes of such a valuable member and friend.
Personally, his belief in my abilities to speak, lead and affect change were mind boggling. He constantly sewed into me encouragement and empowerment. From the moment I stepped into the club, I felt as though someone pointed and told me Terri you’re going to be doing this for the world. I had no idea I could do that, nor had any intention of doing it–at first!
Harold didn’t just hand out an A+ though. You had to work for it. Earn it. I remember his first grammatical evaluation of my speech almost put me in tears. Afterwards, he smiled and patted my back like a father would and said, “That was a great speech, except for all the ums.” It did more for me than I ever admitted. I went home, picked myself back up, and practiced for another one, and another one. His evaluations were priceless in that he didn’t let you just slide by. It made me a better speaker as hard as it was to hear. I owe him a great debt of gratitude for that alone.
Harold kept us laughing with his jokes, his insights and his sense of humor. After a while, I noticed I looked to him during my speech for a reference. Is HE laughing? Is HE enjoying the story? If HE was then I knew I was hitting a home run.
Dear Harold, you will be sorely missed my dear friend. You led a life of encouragement and we loved you for that. I pray that you’re family and all those in your life who knew and loved you, will be comforted in knowing you were a priceless gift.
I’ll end with the note of hope and comfort that eases my pain.
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep (have died),
that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18
God Bless You and Yours!
Rest in Peace
Harold C. Smith