I just ran into a friend and former colleague at the gym. She broke the news that one of the most beloved executives at McCann Relationship Marketing had died suddenly this weekend, just two days ago. She told me there was a group on Facebook with the plans for a memorial service, and so I logged on to see what I could learn.
By rote, I searched for him in "people" and visited his page. Wow. His Wall was overflowing with testimonials and messages. The first from his niece this weekend. The most recent just a few minutes before I logged on.
It is something to see the kind of digital testament to a man's life and legacy that can exist on a website that has been in existence only a few years. My colleague is gone, but his Facebook page continues to evolve. It's a place where his friends, colleagues and family are writing to him and about him.
His profile photo is joyful and poignant and uniquely him. And his latest posts... In his second to last post, he wrote, "I had one last chance this past weekend, but the weather gods rained on his parade. Killington sucked." His final entry reads, "I wonder what life will be like in three years."
I wish I could write on his Wall, but I had not friended him yet on Facebook - only on LinkedIn, where his photo seems hardly the same person. Perhaps it is a new lesson in life to "friend" more people we care about while we have the chance - even those who are "professional" contacts.