Farewell to a Friend

On Monday, our community suffered a crushing loss when County Commissioner Larry Dickens (Dist. 6, west Oak Ridge and Tri-County) suffered a fatal heart attack at home.

I lost a dear friend. I was the treasurer for his County Commission campaigns since he first ran for that office in 1998, and often sought his advice on difficult matters.

We didn’t always agree, but hearing his side of any argument was worth the time, every time… he researched and understood complex matters, and always sought to do the right thing.

He left me a voice message at 12:17 on Monday about some campaign literature I’d been working on for him, and minutes later, he was gone. Macabre though it may seem, I recorded the message and saved it, because just hearing his voice reminds me of all the wonderful things he said over the years.

He sounded healthy and full of enthusiasm. I still cannot believe that he is gone.

His wife was his best friend and girlfriend; his two sons were at the absolute top of his priorities and he was so incredibly proud of those fine young men. He encouraged others to put their families before all else, setting the example for everyone around him. In public policy, he had no patience with anything but the highest levels of honesty and integrity; he put far more time and effort into the complex details of County busines than anyone would realize.

He had no tolerance for wrongdoing, but was instantly forgiving of accidental error. I learned so much from him, and am a better person for his friendship.

Farewell, friend, and enjoy your reward.

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