January 04, 2007
Garry Betty Tribute
What a sad email I received from industry pal David Strom today. While filtering through an AOL account I barely check, the words loss and former Earthlink CEO Garry Betty were in the same line.
"It couldn't be what I'm thinking," was my first reaction and oh god, it was. Yesterday, he was taken from this planet of liver cancer at the age of 49.
It's not as if Garry and I were close, but I did know him and he was always a stand-out. I first met him at one of those CEO millionaires dinners, either at TED or another event like it. I sat next to him and we ended up having an unusually inspiring conversation immediately, as if we had known each other for years. He was polite, didn't pry or even ask why on earth I was at a technology CEO dinner, as this was several years ago.
Yet, once the conversation turned philosophical, there was no turning back. Garry was encouraging, motivational, authentic, warm and intelligent, without the attitude that so many executives can get after years of successful starts.
Over the years, every time I ran into Garry, he was consistently engaging and never missed an opportunity to exchange a hello, how are things or a hug. He even took the time to send a thanks for my holiday cards, a tradition that has always been important to me. Note: HE TOOK THE TIME. Isn't it always how someone or something makes you FEEL at the end of the day?
David writes about one of his favorite Garry stories in a January 3rd blog post. Garry Betty's tribute blog can be found here, where I discovered an even more appropriate photo to demonstrate his warm, fun and genuine personality.
Note: for those interested or on the east coast and are able, there is a visitation for him this Friday, January 5 in Atlanta from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm at H.M. Patterson & Son-Oglethorpe Hill Chapel, 4550 Peachtree Road NE.
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