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.
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.