“…the richest man in town…”

There is no shame in living one’s entire life within a few square miles, no more than it is dishonorable to seek one’s destiny across the globe. Life is nothing if not an individualistic sojourn. Ideally our journeys can and will often overlap with each other, but some come hither while others wend yonder.

I want to tell you about a man in our midst, a man whose life’s voyage began and has now ended having traveled little further than the family manse. While it is a story that is, itself, filled with countless smaller stories, it is a large tale…  far too large to be encapsulated here, other than to give you, dear reader, some slim glimmering of its great compass.

Book-ended between youth and middle-age is the sum substance of his life. High times and dark moments of the soul. Adversities in the midst of blessings, and vice-versa. Laughter and tears. The very dizzying paradox we call human existence.

Much of his life’s work stands in obscurity and his name is not recorded among the great philosophers or industrial magnates of our culture, yet I can point to a life of limitless contributions to others and abundant compassion. Verily, even the smallest seas can yet make powerful waves.

Not unlike the character of George Bailey in the Christmas favorite, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” this man stayed closer to home while others wandered far and wide. However, the love and influence he has cast over those who’ve known him for any amount of time will outspan the day’s he has spent among us.

Granted, I have only known him, off-and-on, for the better part of the last 20 years, but it has been enough to witness a life lived with a heart and mind toward helping his fellow man, as well as deeply enriching the lives of his family and friends.

Though he has now shuffled off this mortal coil, I want him to know that at least one person sees and understands the selfless contributions he has made during his years, and will not let them pass unspoken into the silent mists of time. His riches are not measured in dollar amount or pounds sterling, but spill over into the lives of everyone he has had an opportunity to serve and love.

Such is why I raise my glass and toast Bruce Gillespie, Jr., as a man who has lived his life as one of the wealthiest men in Overton.

If you do not know him, you are the poorer for it; but if you do, you know exactly what I mean.

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