Six years ago this morning, my grandfather Brawley Vaughan passed away peacefully at the Eastern Nebraska Veterans Home. He was 87 years old. I’ve documented at length the man that he meant to his family and to me. Every year this day leaves a bit more of my heart in pieces. But in all of the memories of my beloved grandfather, I had none that involved his life in his career or what kind of leader/coworker he might have been. He retired from a long-standing career at Merck Sharp and Dohme before I had any exposure to his work life.
About two weeks after he passed away I came across two posts in his obituary that made me smile. One was from a woman named Kathryn and the other was from a woman named Diana. I never thought about the impact my grandfather would have on the people with whom he worked throughout his time at Merck. Now, so many years into my own career I know firsthand the influence that coworkers and managers can have in not only your professional but also personal lives and development.
I was then and am still so thankful for this small window into that man that he was in his career and I’m so grateful to the women who took the time to post. I’m not surprised what was said about him and his integrity and influence, but it was a gift to read.
I still think of my grandfather every day. I’m so thankful to see that his life’s shadow has stretched far beyond the borders of our family.