Sunday, June 27, 2010

Farewell My Friend, Dr. Eugene O. Poindexter

I just found out that one of my heroes died on Wednesday, the 23rd. The service was today and I didn't even know he had passed until about 30 minutes ago. I signed on to Facebook and his wife had posted a message on my wall.

"Call me tomorrow at the old number."

I immediately knew something was wrong. I've prodded her over and over on Facebook this last six months, never getting a response. Why oh why didn't I call them to see what was up?? Why oh why do I have 487 friends on Facebook, most of whom I barely know whose silly posts covered up her more important ones? The ones since May about him being ill.

When I saw her post I immediately clicked over to her FB page. And there, her last post, was his obituary.

His name was Eugene O. Poindexter. I used to know what the O stands for. After all, O's are unusual as names go. That was one thing we had in common.

I remember the day I met Gene. It was my first Finance course at West Georgia College (now University of West Georgia) and this dashing man with a colorful past made me fall in love with his subject. Oh, was he passionate about finance!

I was an accounting major and his course was a requirement. At his urging I declared a double major. His classes kept me going in the middle of all those brutal accounting courses. Anything but boring, he challenged his students to think, to question. That was right up my alley.

I worked as his research assistant, spending time at his home with both he and his wife, hearing stories of his days in Iran as a Lt Col in the Air Force, part of the military advisors to the then Shah.  His son was my age and we ran together for a while. I even got s**t-faced at a faculty party at his house and passed out on their bed amongst the coats and purses, waking up just in time for my boyfriend to take me home.

He was there at my college graduation and couldn't have been prouder of me than my own mother. In fact, I always thought of Gene as my family, a father to replace the daddy I'd lost to booze long before he had died in '77. He wore his doctorate robes and walked in my graduation. He walked proudly and tall. He was there the same day for my initiation to the Phi Kappa Phi honor fraternity. In fact, it occurs to me now that it was probably Gene who nominated me for that honor. Wily devil never once let on, but I now recall the pains he'd taken to explain to me what an honor it was.

Over the years we kept in touch, off and on. He was at my wedding in 1996 ( though I'm pretty sure he missed the divorce.) I'm sorry to say I hadn't seen him or talked to him in probably eleven or twelve years. But he was always in my universe. Always.

And now he's gone. My tears, that had been plugged up since Kayla died, won't stop flowing.

Goodbye, Gene, Dr. P, Dr. Poindexter. Goodbye my dear friend. You touched my life in so many ways, as a teacher, a mentor, a father and a friend.

Godspeed. You will be missed by those of us left behind.

But we shall surely meet somewhere on down the line. May God bless you and keep you until then.

There's a new star in the Heavens tonight.

6 comments:

Roland D. Yeomans said...

There are those who are pillars in our lives. Their wisdom, their concern, their love ... they all act as braces to the foundation of our lives.

They become such a part of our lives that we take their memory as if it were their presence. It is not a slight. It is an honor. Their teachings become such a part of who we are that they are, indeed, present with us.

My worldview is such that I feel that nothing happens by accident. Perhaps The Father wanted you to remember Dr, Poindexter as he was - not as he would have been ill.

Perhaps Dr. Poindexter also needed to know that someone still thought of him as strong and healthy as he had once been.

You can now keep in touch with his wife and help her with the hole in her own heart. Some of your tears are echo tears from Kayla, too, I believe. And that is also probably a needed release of anguish you did not know you still had pent up.

Partings always suck. I wish I had some words that would heal your grief. Only time and memories of your friendship will do that.

I am, as always, in your corner, Roland

Olivia Herrell said...

Roland, He was and is, indeed, a presence. Always there. Like my mother. No matter what. You're right about the Kayla tears, too.

Thank you for reminding me that nothing happens by accident. When regret takes your hand it's easy to forget that. Losing Gene makes me realize there are other presences that I need to visit. To touch.

Thank you so much, Olivia

Suzie said...

I'm sorry I don't have any clever words to say here, Olivia. Grief always makes my mind go blank.

I can simply say I'm sorry for your lose. :(

L'Aussie said...

A very touching tribute to a personal hero, Olivia. I'm a new follower, but I feel I know so much about you from this post. Heroes live forever in our hearts...)

elizabeth mueller said...

Oh Olivia, my heart is with you. I know he can hear your prayers and he still smiles upon you. I will keep you and his loved ones in my prayers.

((Hugs))

Olivia Herrell said...

Suzie, no clever words required, I'm sorry is enough. Thank you.

L'Aussie, welcome and thank you so much for your kind words. Isn't it wonderful that our heroes are immortal.

Elizabeth, prayers are good. Always. :) I talked to his wife, Barbara, for close to an hour today, I think it was good for both of us. She invited me to the interrment in September and I'm going to visit her next week. I'm feeling much better, so thank you. Very much. :)

~Olivia

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