My dad, Douglass Colbert, was a preacher, a social worker, and a military chaplain. He was generous to a fault. Dad had a quirky sense of humor, dealing out puns as often as he could. He lived in the moment and was never a planner.
My mom, Patricia Colbert, worked for H&R Block doing taxes, taught swimming and life guarding, and taught English when we lived overseas. She loved to swim and would try to swim a mile a day. Mom always kept the family books. She was the long term planner.
Both of my parents loved to travel. There was always a trip in the plans. They loved to travel in their RV. One trip had them drive from Texas to Lake Ural in Siberia in Russia via Alaska in a three month RV caravan. On another trip we spent a week river rafting down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. On another trip, we took a Cruise around the Caribbean and spend time on Aruba.
Right after their 50th wedding anniversary in 2005, my mom started getting abdominal pains. This turned out to be cancer. She lived for less than six months after that point. She died at age 69. At the funeral my dad was coughing. The doctor diagnosed it as pneumonia. Within 3 months the diagnosis changed to stage 4 lung cancer. He had no will to live after my mom’s death. He died shortly after his lung cancer operation. He was 72.
Before my mom died, I visited them for a week. I tried to help get my mom’s affairs in order because I knew my dad would never be able to do it. Bank accounts, investment accounts, retirements, insurances, wills, trusts, and taxes were all documented. Mom was really weak and in a lot of pain but we both knew it was important. I can’t tell you how important this turned out to be after she passed away. I also tried to understand her life, her accomplishments, her joys and her regrets.
Before my dad passed away, I tried to understand his life. I found out many things that I did not know. He had been a radio evangelist in Minnesota in the 1950’s and also had been a clown in the Shriner’s Circus. I should have recorded this but the conversations were always so impromptu.
My parents’ deaths made me think about their legacies. Their legacies are much more than the assets I inherited. It was about their values, lessons, humor, and stories. I wished my kids were old enough to learn from them. This revelation was the inspiration for Remember People and helping people to leave their legacies.
I miss my parents and think of them often. I am thankful for their legacies.
Mike Colbert, CEO