On July 7th I received an e-mail that George A. Smith IV was missing on his honeymoon. In subsequent weeks accounts of George's disappearance have been splashed across newpapers and television shows across the country. These reports all tell bits and shreds of a tragic loss, but little do they tell of the George that I had the pleasure of knowing and working with for two plus years.
George was a special guy. I will always remember his dry sense of humor. We were a small research department, just myself and two analysts, and our department created numerous reports for clients. Proofreading is a must-do chore. George and the other analyst would swap reports for proofing and signify that they were proofread by initialling the copy. George would proof a report and initial it, but he would write "B+" and "Try Harder" or "Nice Work, B-." In context, it was very funny, since the quality of the work and the "grade" were totally disconnected. It added a note of levity to some serious work.
George was a special guy. I will always remember how fond he was of his family. Several years ago, he went on a cruise with his parents and his sister. For many young adults the thought of going on vacation with "the family" is anathema. George looked forward to the trip, so it was no surprise to me that he was on a honeymoon cruise.
George was a special guy. In the two plus years that he worked for me, I cannot remember him ever having an unkind word for anyone.
George was a special guy. No matter what task I put before him, he would forge ahead, meet the milestones, occassionally ask for clarification and dependably got the job done. No whining, no complaining, no but must I's. That was not him.
George was a special guy. He had his wisdom teeth removed on a Friday and assured me that he would be in to work on Monday. Being more familiar with the process than he was, I had my doubts, so I was not surprised Monday morning to see his desk empty. When I got into my office there was no phone message either. But, I was not prepared for the email that was awaiting me. It had a digital picture attached of him with an extremely swollen jaw. The picture was worth thousands of words.
No matter what happened that fateful night on the waters between Greece and Turkey, the real story about George A. Smith IV is not the sensational disappearance. It is the patchwork of memories that those who knew him will hold in their hearts forever.