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  4. 2015
  5. Winter

Dear Robbie

The Last Word

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Dear Robbie,

I almost didn't write this letter. Three and a half years is a long time to not talk, and I'm not sure I have the words yet. But I know how much you loved the Noble Research Institute and an update seemed in order.

We're doing fine. Better than fine, actually. We're blossoming. We're helping agriculture in new and exciting ways, and we're giving back more than ever.

We have a new initiative, one that I know you'd like. "Noble in the Community" gives employees a chance to volunteer together. One of the major community projects is the Lake Murray Shoreline Cleanup, where we collect trash around our beloved state park. Two years ago, I stood on the banks with my half-filled plastic bag and looked out over the water. A gray comforter of clouds released a steady drizzle overhead, and I thought of you. Boating accidents never make sense on this side of forever.

I remember the day I found out you were gone. I came to the office alone and bawled like a baby, writing through tears all the words I wish I could have said to you. No one ever saw those words. I hope somehow you did.

Jill and Gayle still keep photos of you up in their offices snapshots of running buddies at the finish line of another marathon. Two of the strongest people I've ever met still fight tears at the mention of their best friend.

That's what love does. It remembers. Even though the hurt seeps back in, we hold on, sharing memories of a friend so that we are never truly apart.

This issue of Legacy is dedicated to our past, to the people who shaped our present days and laid the foundation for what's next. You were one of those people. You never worked in a laboratory or went on a farm visit, but your life remains a testimony to the lasting impact of one positive person.

You were our cheerleader and simply one of the loudest people I've ever met. Your volume was undeniable. Your raspy "Oh my gosh!" could cut granite. Your throaty laugh erupted without warning. When you laughed, we all laughed.

You were one of the rare people who didn't see the glass as half anything. You were thankful for the glass you'd been given, and it overflowed with joy. You poured out encouragement and compassion to a world lacking both.

If others were the muscles and bones of our organizational body, you were definitely our heart. Despite circumstances, despite obstacles, you radiated a pure, honest grace. People flocked to you, and they were not disappointed because in you they found kindness.

Kindness doesn't fade, Robbie, and neither will you.

Remembering you,

J. Adam Calaway
Director of Communications and Public Relations