May 08, 2003
Goodbye Sam

In the end, as they say, we’re all dead. After that, maybe we’re judged, as so many religions suggest. The living will never get to hear the verdict. However, if tonight’s memorial is any indication, Sam Albert is going to heaven.
The sad thing about memorials is that the dead never physically hear what people remember about them, what actions they took that affected people’s lives, what things made the most impact.
I hope that I get to watch from some otherworldly dimension if some such event happens at my passing. And hopefully, what people will say will be half as nice as what the crowd said about Sam Albert tonight.
Sam worked for 30 years at IBM. He was the “CompuTips” reporter at 1010WINS, for over 10 years. But the way he seems to have touched most of the people in the room was in the way he connected them with each other. Sam was a consummate networker, and he specialized in making sure other people got together. I can speak from my own experience that he made sure all the people around him at any event (and he went to many events) got to meet. He kept in touch. He was present – you were important because he was talking to you, and he was talking to you to make you important. Someone mentioned how it was just amazing the amount of best friends Sam had in the room, and even those people didn’t know him well or for very long. The “Will Rogers of the tech industry” was another description.
He also had a great memory for people’s families, their jobs, what was going on, and a talent for following up. He gave of his time and of his advice and his contacts. His motto, the book he gave out to many of the people in the room, signed, was “Attitude is Everything.”
Many of the traits he obviously valued are ones I value as well – connecting people, giving without wondering what will be given back, storytelling, his insatiable curiosity. He was 72 years young and never showed signs of slowing.
A sign of a good memorial is when the discussion of the life of the honoree is inspiring enough to encourage attendees to consider their own life, and what they could change to make them more like the departed.
I know after tonight I’ll be considering often what Sam would have done in a situation, and what I can do to be more like him. So go with God, Rest in Peace, and thank you for spending time with us again tonight. Bye Sam.

Thanks to Alan Brody, Denny Eaton, Marie Nelson and Miles Rose for setting the night up.

Posted by Howard at 09:58 PM