Monday, November 26, 2012

Jim Bierly: A giant moves on

We lost a good one. Jim Bierly, a giant in my life and a friend of my family’s from before the time I was born, died yesterday at 87.

Jim fought in World War II, came home to Ohio and ran a manufacturing business. His daughter will carry on as head of the business. He had four kids.

For twenty years, on every single trip I’ve made to my hometown in Ohio, I’ve seen Jim and his wife Karen. Every trip.

He was one of those guys that you just liked. Solid, good-hearted, dependable. He was always there. He lived in an old Ohio farmhouse that he remodeled 10-15 years ago. I remember going there in the early seventies as a small kid for parties. In particular I remember going sledding there with at least a dozen other kids, I was one of the youngest at that scene.

Four or five years ago, when I went home for Christmas, my mom and I spent Christmas Eve with Jim and Karen and a couple of other people. It was a cold night, but nice out. We all headed outside with our drinks and had a huge bonfire. It was one of my best Christmas Eve’s ever. I can still smell the smoke.

How do you describe a person in a few words?

It was his time to go, but it’s so hard to believe. He was just always there. For years.

I can hear his voice in my head, but I can’t find words to describe it.

Tonight my mom described him as one of her favorite men. 

His first wife, Helen, died of cancer when I was young. She and I share the same birthday. This may have been before or after my dad died, I don’t remember, it was around the same time--probably after, circa 1972. She was the first person I knew who knew that she was dying. She was an amazing woman too. I remember her strong spirit and her positive energy. Jim also had that positive energy. He wasn’t a pushover kind of a guy, but his kindness is what I’ll remember the most.

Jim's body started to give out on him a few years ago, but his mind and spirit remained strong until the end.

Jim’s wife Karen is also a great friend and is an equally large presence in my life. My heart breaks for her.

Jim was a giant.

Goodbye my friend.

1 comment:

Alice ~ Folk Art Primitives said...

Jim, such a touching memorial to a great guy!