Monday, February 17, 2014


Michael Valentine - my friend, colleague, client and Oram Senior Associate the last two years died quietly and peacefully on Saturday night February 15th. Myeloma took him. Fast. Our relationship - over the past 30 plus years - was a  mix of work and play. The work was fun, great and challenging; the playtime was spectacular. Micheal was a serious /fun loving guy. We shared many a hangover on two continents. He sucked the air out of a room,  made friends instantly (and kept them). He was an enthusiastic golfer. Not me. A good walk ruined.(Mark Twain)?A consummate professional, detail-oriented, strategic; clients and major donors loved Michael. I did too.

He called me January 25th and told me his disease was progressing, the various therapies had failed, he had decided to forgo anything but palliative treatment and had started in-home hospice that day. I went down to Savannah to see him ten days ago. He and son Taylor, a chip off the block, picked me up at the airport and we went off to lunch at a famous old restaurant downtown. The food was pretty bad but this was an "official" meeting of the first-Thursday-of-the-month lunch club comprised putatively of the only liberal Democrats in Savannah. This Thursday there were seven of us including the ex-US attorney, a journalist, an architect - all retired.

I thought lunch would wear  Michael out but instead it invigorated him. When we got back to the house Michael put his feet up and of course we reminisced. He was matter of fact about his situation and not without humor. And tears though we also laughed a lot. Especially about this: Michael had mostly completed an Excel spread sheet inventorying as many specific dates and events in his life as he could.Another good friend may write it up. I had urged Michael to do an oral history but time ran out.

Though it sounds corny, people  like Michael are in this business to change the world. We all  could have made a ton more  money doing something else.

Michael changed the world.

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