Monday, March 22, 2010

Rob Lived a Hand Crafted Life

This is one in a series for a column, Living a Hand Crafted Life, that I am writing for our local newspaper, The Hendersonville Times-News. This article was run on March 21, 2010.

There's a general tendency to presume people just act for short-term profit. But anyone who knows about small-town businesses and how people in a community relate to one another realizes that many of those decisions are not just for profit and that humans do try to organize and solve problems. -- Elinor Ostrom, first woman recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics (2009)

This column is about encouraging readers to live a hand crafted life:  a life of choice based and following our heart and our core values.

Rob Cranford was one such person.  I knew Rob from Rotary.  Just seeing him in a room would make me smile.  His open and honest energy and integrity was palpable; you could feel it.  He loved life, and he followed his heart in living a full life. 

Rob was a humble and yet impressive person.  He used his head and his heart.  He was an astute businessman as well as a deeply caring family man, friend, and community member.  I have heard him laugh so hard that he almost choked, and I have seen his eyes fill with tears at a touching story.  Rob’s emotions and abilities ran the gamut.

Rob was a devout man who practiced what he believed.  He didn’t preach, he acted.  And because of his many acts, this community is a better place.  There is no corner of our community that he didn’t touch in some way or another.  Under Rob’s leadership (and thanks to other great employees there), Morrow Insurance was a profitable company, and they shared those profits with organizations in Henderson County. 

In this day and age, when focus on the bottom line leads companies and corporations to make self-serving decisions, it is affirming to know that Morrow’s decisions were led by the philosophy that people and community matter.  Non-profits knew they could count on Morrow’s support.  And characteristically, when Rob would make a commitment or pledge, he would say, “I’m sorry it can’t be more.” 

I would tease Rob that I was the Founding President of the Rob Cranford International Fan Club.  I really feel that way about Rob.  He had a halo while he was here on earth, and now he has sprouted wings.

But from the SRO crowd at his funeral, I have plenty of competition for that title.  Friends told tales (poignant and hysterical) about Rob, and most impressive were his sons’ eulogies to their Dad.  The courage it took for them to stand in front of a huge crowd at a terribly emotional time for them was fueled by their obvious love and admiration of their father.  What a tribute to their Dad.  I know he was proud as punch.  We all were. 

There’s a big hole in many hearts because of our loss of Rob Cranford living among us.  I’m thankful that I knew him.  I am a better person for having known Rob.  We all are.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. -- Leo Buscaglia

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