Monday, May 22, 2017

Bill Walsh Memorialized in (Grammar,) Style (and Punctuation)

We celebrated my brother Bill's life on Friday at the Washington Post, where he worked for the past 20 years. We laughed and we cried. And we shared stories about what made him such a singular human being. But most of all we reiterated why we're going to miss him so much, a wound from which I know I will never recover.

There's no question Bill was taken from us way too soon. But as my sister-in-law explains, it couldn't have been a more fitting tribute to a man of incredible intelligence, grace and strength.

Jacqueline writes:
I want to sum up by saying that it was a gathering that just could not have gone any better, and the "love in the room." as they say, meant and means so much to me. The speakers were all fabulous--Kenneth M. Walsh, Vince Rinehart, Merrill Perlman, and Louis Bayard each knocked it out of the park. We also had a number of people read short excerpts from Bill's books, including Jesse Lewis, Brian Cleveland, Doug Norwood, Kathy Wenner, Carrie Camillo, and Terence Walsh, who each brought Bill's voice and spirit right onto the stage. And a number of Post staffers also participated in a video presentation of their favorite memories of Bill, including Jeff Leen, Patricia E. Weems Gaston, Shibani Shah, Doris Truong, and others I am regrettably not conjuring up right now (but I haven't had a chance to see it more than that one time yet!). And then there were the people who worked behind the scenes to pull off this extravaganza, including Liz Whyte and Anne Ferguson-Rohrer. But then there was Courtney Rukan, who was the real driver for pulling the event together, and who dealt with the Freaked Out Widow Walsh for weeks of planning. The program (with Michael Cavna's lovely illustration) labeled the event a celebration, and it most definitely was that. I just can't thank everyone enough. 
Hear! Hear!

You can see more photos and read my opening speech HERE.

Photo montage by my mother

Reception table, with a few of Bill's favorite things

 My stepfather (Gary), mother (Molly), me and brother Terence.


Anonymously Yours said...

In honor of Bill Walsh and for those he loved and who love him:

Never a Last Good By

Somehow my heart can never learn to say
A last good-by, entirely and completely,
To anything I ever loved. There may
Be folk who can accomplish severance neatly
With no loose ends of longing and regret
To trip their hearts at unexpected hours;
But always my heart stumbles, even yet,
When the shape of the hills or the rain-sweet scent of flowers
Recalls my earliest home, or when the sound
Of laughter echoes that which used to fall
From lips long silent to me. I am bound
By myriad threads of memory, keeping all
I ever loved so near me still, that I
Shall never learn to say a last good-by.

— Jane Merchant

Dwight Williamson said...

Very proud of your whole family! 🌈💐💫🌞🌝⚡️

Robyn Jackson said...

Kenneth, what a beautiful story. After reading it I feel like I knew your brother. Peace and love to you and your family.

Dana Littell said...

So sad. Too soon. My deepest condolences, Kenneth. <3

Leah said...

Just read your and Jacqueline's eulogies and I'm crying.

Also, I love that the WP gave you all that space. You needed it.