Today I learned about the passing of a very special person in my life, and my heart is heavy with sadness. A man I considered my mentor, Ike Davidson, passed away yesterday.
We all hold certain people in a special place in our hearts and minds. Family is always there, of course, with so many loving memories shared from early childhood to adulthood. But I consider myself extra lucky to have, not only my family, but also other people like Ike, that came into my life leaving a mark that I consider truly special. I say special because his impact was not tied to common blood, but rather a conscious and voluntary choice to participate in my life. He didn’t have to… he chose to.
I met Ike, and his wife Joan, in 1991, as I was finishing my college education. We met by chance and also partly due to a well-timed martini! I will never forget meeting them for the first time 23 years ago. We kept in touch and, a few months later, I began working for Ike in his small but growing sales rep business. I will always cherish our conversations while on long drives to visit clients. I learned a lot from Ike in those 3-hour drives together, not just about his business, but also about work ethic, the real meaning of success, personal relationships and planning for the future. We spent many nights after work, over dinner and drinks, talking shop and making jokes. Ike and Joan liked good food, and they spoiled me with treats to some of the best kept secrets in South Florida dining.
I spent several years working close to Ike, always learning about the challenges and details related to running a business. For a while I had my desk in the same office space where he would talk on the phone with vendors, clients, accountants and bankers. He never asked me to leave while he was on the phone, and listening to his business conversations was like getting a Master’s Degree in business. After some successful years, Ike and Joan transitioned into retirement, and they gave me the opportunity to share ownership and preside over their business. I was 25 years old. The trust they placed in me was truly awesome and I am forever grateful.
Ike was a major point of deflection in my life. Had I not met him, I would have continued on a different path in my professional life, but I know I would have missed on many life lessons that I was truly lucky to learn from him at a young age. I know this would have been a great loss. Ike showed pure kindness, patience and an immense willingness to help me learn about so many things. I was very lucky indeed.
After Ike moved to Des Moines, we would keep in touch and I would continue to count on his advise for many years. I always enjoyed hearing his common sense approach to life, and his sense of humor. I remember a conversation we had a few years ago, where I told him that he was a very large influence in my life, and that he had done a great deal of good for me. I am glad that I had the opportunity to say thank you. Sometimes we do not, until it is too late. I am glad he knew that I was extremely appreciative of all he did for me. He was a good man, and a great mentor to me.
My sincere condolences to Joan and her family in this difficult time. To Ike, my teacher, thank you, and may you rest in peace.
Link to service details/obituary