My Dad passed away on August 18, 2007. He was one of those “quiet’' leaders who always put himself in a position to succeed. He was in the ROTC in college so when he enlisted in the Army, he could go in as an Officer. Between college and joining the Army, he married my mom whom he met in South Georgia. They were married for 54 years and successfully raised three headstrong boys to become productive members of our society. In retrospect, he was the leader I always tried to measure myself against.
In my twenties, I was a single man who enjoyed going out in the evening. As I often looked around the establishment I was in, I noticed the dads of some of my friends and other married men who were enjoying themselves and “blowing off steam”. I never saw my Dad in those settings and that always stuck with me. Instead, he always went home at the end of the day. He put himself in the position to succeed in his marriage to my Mom and commitment to his family.
When my Dad retired from his military service and entered the business world, he put himself in a position to succeed by learning and mastering his real estate business. He made and created relationships with other leaders in our community by entering local politics at an early age. He became Mayor of our city in the early 1960's when the times turned turbulent with the advent of segregation. My Dad never discussed those times, but I learned of stories through my Mom and other leaders in our community. My Dad worked with Mr. Lemuel Geathers, an African American gentleman who was an inspirational leader among men and women of all races. They worked together to calm tensions in the Black and White communities. Mr. Geathers may be the subject of a future blog here in this space.
Being the strong and successful leader that he was, my Dad pushed my two brothers and me to put ourselves in positions that would lead to success. That being said, my parents always encouraged a college education and afforded us the opportunity to go. When I returned home after graduating from college, I went to work with and for my Dad in his Real Estate business. I observed how he positioned himself to succeed in both his personal and professional life. I found that his successes were achieved through a number of ways: 1. his moral and ethical standards, 2. the ways he treated his clients and customers, 3. the ways he treated his contemporaries, 4. his ability to succeed and thrive in his profession, and 5. the techniques he used to become a highly respected member of his business community.
As I mentioned earlier, my Dad always encouraged me to position myself to succeed in all aspects of life. I think he would be pleased with the successes that resulted from his energy and efforts.