Recently, Paul West, owner of West Memorials, has lost a dear friend and hero, George Crone, who shaped the way Mr. West does business. Mr. West wrote this heart-felt memory about his time with memorialist George Crone:
George Crone died today.
To most people around the globe this event probably doesn’t make much of a dent. However to those that knew him and especially those of us on which he made a huge impact, the hole is huge.
I’m a memorialist. These are words that George allowed me to be able to say. It is not just what I do but a lot of who I am. George took a kid in his late 20’s with a track record of shaky decision making and gave him an opportunity for a new kind of life. As with George, the opportunity was given but what happened after that was earned. He was in as long as I was in and the harder I worked the more he gave. The hungrier I got, the more he fed. How cool is that?
What an accomplishment it is to change a person’s life and most folks don’t bother to try. George changed mine. In changing my life he affected so many other lives. Not only the lives of my wife and children were changed but also the people that are nourished by the fruit George planted in me. The craft he taught and the lessons he shared have allowed me to be a part of so many lives. Oh, how much I learned riding around in that truck. “C’mon boy, I’m gonna show you something, now look, this is how…….” Or my favorite, “I’m gonna show you how to do this, now if you want to mess up and do it your own way, it’s fine but this is the right way”.
Not a week goes by that I don’t tell a George story or share a lesson that he taught me. You should ask me to tell you a George story sometime. Not a day goes by that I don’t measure a day’s work by his yardstick. I learned from his mistakes and built upon his success. He is a part of my life everyday.
Damn, there is just too much to say. Missy has been telling me for three years that I would regret not writing him a letter telling him how I feel. I figured that an “I love you” letter showing up is the last thing someone who was dying would want to receive. Maybe I was wrong… I don’t know… I will go on believing that George knew how very much I love him.
So never underestimate the beauty of a hard day’s work, a bbq bologna sandwich, a four bone from the cozy c, a blt with a milkshake and always know the best joint in every little town or any of the countless joys that George brought into my life. Just like George, it is rare that I go somewhere that I don’t run into someone I know. When it happens, Missy always says “you’re turning into George”. What an amazing compliment.
Getting up and going to bed is not enough folks. Ain’t no cash in heaven. Being a memorialist, I am reminded daily how fast it can all be taken away or how long being taken away can last. Live today, accumulate stories, not things, and for God’s sake make a major difference in at least one person’s life. George did.
George Crone died today and man does it ever hurt.
More biographical information can be found by clicking here.