Monday, July 26, 2021

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The last time I saw you was right after Mom’s funeral this past March. You were in the front seat of the car that dropped me off at the airport. Weak, gentle and frail, you started to get out of the car, asking if you could come with me. It was not to be. We said our ‘I love yous’ and, with tears in my eyes, I walked into the airport, sure that this would be our last goodbye.2014-05-19_10-50-28_573 2

I have a hand-written note taped to the wall of my office. You wrote it last year after visiting Wendy and me. In the note, you thanked me for taking you fishing, which turned out to be your last fishing trip. You called me a “master guide.” It was your way of telling me you were proud of me. I shall cherish it always.

I may have been your master fishing guide during those two days, but you were and are my master guide to things far greater. My love for music, for my son, for the beauty of the outdoors, for God and for showing genuine kindness to others are all rooted in you.

There is much I want to thank you for. Thanks for selflessly passing the torch for the four levels to Wendy and me. We will do our best to be the spark that turns others into bright lights. Thanks for teaching me how to laugh with people, and how to show them that heart and the human spirit are more meaningful than any metric. Thanks for serving our country so that others can be free. Thanks for never being harsh with me despite the many mistakes I have made.

In case you haven’t noticed, I now take the cover off the front seat of my boat when I am fishing in honor of you and in case you ever want to join me.

You are irreplaceable, Dad. Thanks for loving me. I will honor you going forward, knowing that your death was not nearly as significant as the life you lived.


Click here to see photos of Don's funeral, and other cherished memories.

Click here to read Don's obituary.

We invite you to log in and leave a comment below about how Don influenced you, or share your thoughts in the associated discussion in the Kirkpatrick Evaluation discussion group in LinkedIn.
Actions: Permalink | Comments (7) |


# Veronica Ham
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 11:45 AM
This is so touching and I very much appreciate you sharing these precious memories of your Dad with us. God Bless you and the family during this time.
# Lapayton20
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 11:45 AM
Jim, this is such a beautiful letter to your Dad. Your love for him is so evident in the emotions of your words. I pray that God provides you with the peace that passeth all understanding and holds you gently in His arms of comfort. Lori
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 1:10 PM
نور به قبرت بباره مرد
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 1:12 PM
روحش شاد و یادش گرامی باد

توسعه علوم راهبردی ایده

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 9:31 PM
My deepest condolences, The passing of a wise and great guru in training.
Thursday, May 22, 2014 12:21 PM

While I never personally knew your father, I know your father through everything that I've seen you and Wendy do in your work. You celebrate him every day with Kirkpatrick Partners. And every time I hear you speak at ASTD, I know that a part of your dad is there. So thank you for sharing such a warm and touching remembrance.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 6:49 PM
I have one of Mr. Kirkpatrick's overhead projector masters: The Four Evaluation levels which he signed in 2011. It's a real treasure for me- I never met him but he wrote: "With best wishes to a very good friend"... and I'm sure that his work has touched and inspired many people over the years- the mark of a good friend indeed.
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