At least three times yesterday I started to do a blog post about the industry losing Chuck Westfall, and I stopped. I'm never at a loss for words but just couldn't find the right ones to share. So, instead, I'd go out to our butterfly garden and just ponder the meaning of life, say a little prayer as I thought about Chuck, and reflect about how time is our most valuable commodity.
Another reason I didn't write this post is that I figured everybody else would and why just be another sad moment in a blog post? But there was something that hit me this morning. So many of you never had the privilege of knowing Chuck, so why not share a perspective on his incredible contribution to the industry we all love?
Chuck and I were simply nice friends. I didn't know him well outside the industry, but I couldn't have respected him more. We never spent a lot of time together, but we knew we could count on each other if there were some challenges to deal with. We'd see each other at shows numerous times a year. When I was with Hasselblad, being in the NY/NJ area, we'd catch up at all of the industry's rubber chicken dinners. We'd talk for a few minutes and then move on to catch each other again at the next conference or industry event.
But here's what made Chuck so special and unique. I commented on Facebook yesterday that he was the heart and soul of Canon, but he was really more. He was the epitome of integrity and passion for the entire industry. If you click on the photo of Chuck, you'll link to his Facebook page and one after another, everybody has a story.
There were two posts that struck me as particularly poignant:
Denis Reggie: Chuck Westfall was a truly special, brilliant and kind human being. I am heartbroken and wish him eternal peace and heartfelt blessings to his wonderful wife Ying and their daughter Anna. I was honored to be their wedding photographer back in 2000 and to have had a 25+ year professional friendship. RIP, dear Chuck. You did it all so very well, sir.
Ron Leach: Today the imaging world lost a true giant and an impeccable ambassador, who was responsible for numerous technical innovations that many take for granted. Chuck was a kind-hearted gentleman, a great husband and father, and beloved by everyone who had the good fortune to call him a friend. People of Chuck's stature cannot be replaced, but he will forever remain in our hearts. Rest in peace, buddy.
What we have once enjoyed deeply we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.
Everybody who ever worked with Chuck, couldn't help but enjoy him deeply. That quote brings me full circle to something more I want to say about Chuck. He set an example for all of us, and in turn has become a part of us and the industry. His love for imaging couldn't have been more consistent, as was his patience, enthusiasm and kindness. Denis really said it best: You did it all so very well, sir.
RIP Chuck, you will certainly be missed!