A Mentor. A Friend. Goodbye Dick Prince.

“Sometimes it makes me sad, though… I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they’re gone. I guess I just miss my friend.”  — Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding

Dick, Routon and I dressed for The 4th of July

Less than two weeks ago I was on the phone talking to my friend and mentor Dick Prince.  As usual, I was asking for advice and he was more than happy to assist.  After guiding me in the right direction, we talked about a mutual friend and how we were both proud of her recent accomplishments and how she has grown as a person, both professionally and personally in the past few years.  We made plans to get dinner in January and ended our call.

This morning while driving to work, I received the hardest news I had heard in a long time.  My friend and mentor Dick Prince had passed away Monday night due to a massive heart attack.  I’m still in shock.  Out of everyone I know, Dick was the one I thought would be around forever.

When I interviewed for my first “grown up” job, it was Dick Prince who conducted the interview.  We hit it off at that moment.  When I needed advice about career advancement, he was there.  When I needed help with a project, he was there.  It didn’t stop there.  He helped with every aspect of my life.  I’ll never forget the advice he gave me about business, marriage and life.  He always reminded me to have fun and set an example of how to live a balanced life filled with joy.

Dick and I celebrating Christmas during a company function

He was one of the smartest individuals I knew and he always gave everyone the benefit of the doubt.  Anyone who spent any time with him realized he was special and always left learning something new during each encounter.  When my wife and I got married four years ago, Dick Prince made sure to introduce himself to all of my family members.  To this day, I still have family members asking about Dick Prince and talking about how much they enjoyed meeting him.  He truly was special.

Thank you Dick for the time we spent together.  I’m angry it ended so soon, but am fortunate for time we shared.

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