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In August 2008, I was in Chicago visiting family when the Fool offered me the opportunity to return and manage Pro. I was visiting family because, as we all know, our time here is limited, and sometimes you're given an early warning that someone's time in particular is in jeopardy. In this case, my father had been living with the knowledge of incurable cancer for nearly a dozen years. During those years, the disease hadn't shown many hints of itself, and life largely went on as normal, as least on the surface. But by 2008, he seemed to be slowing down a bit, so with our three-year-old in tow, I drove to Chicago to spend a month at home with him and my mother. When the Fool offer arrived, I pondered it for a good long while solely for my own reasons.

Pro launched in October 2008, so we had to get the ball rolling fairly quickly. We were in the midst of a financial meltdown unlike any we've seen in our lifetime. Although the collapsing market destroyed the finances of countless individuals, and hamstrung the country, already history is starting to take away its hard edge, and the sweep of time (and what it subsequently takes away) eventually dulls the drama of high finance. We invested in the most prudent, sensible fashion we knew as Pro's first year got underway, and the strategies learned over the past years proved a good crutch, giving us confidence to steadily get into the market.

By October 2009, it was obvious my father's fight was escalating. Back in 1997, doctors had told him that he'd probably live 15 years, and however we added up the time, the math was unforgiving. You always hope new cures or medicines will be discovered, but even today there's little you can do about slow-growing cancer that is wandering your body. At Thanksgiving in 2009, we received news of spots in his lungs, adding to the cancer we knew was now in his legs. By the end of 2009, my dad was a young sixty-seven, except he was beginning to limp.

In 2010, I made sure to see him every month, even if just for a weekend. He was easy to see. He was easy-going, humorous, respectful, optimistic (if cynical about government his last several years), and interested in many topics. He loved to travel, and had visited Alaska, Brazil, Costa Rica, Greece, France, Florida, D.C., the Caribbean and other places the last handful of years, always bringing home new stories. One of my favorites (shared by my mother) was how he'd buy things in countries with lesser means: "How much would you like for that hat?" he'd ask a vendor. "$10," the person would respond. "$10!" My dad would say. "I'll give you $12." And he'd make the transaction.

By October 2010, it was time to start chemotherapy. He and my mother had pushed his luck far enough, hoping to get as much out of life as possible before beginning a chemo regiment that, once started, couldn't be stopped but intermittently. I headed home a few days after he started treatment, just to be there as support. Unfortunately, those days became a turning point, because my dad became paralyzed, and doctors discovered that cancer had grown on his spinal cord. He nearly didn't emerge from two emergency surgeries that stretched eighteen hours, but when he did, he was bright eyed, clear headed, and ready to talk. We had the invaluable gift of conversation. Leaving a few days later wasn't easy with him immovable in intensive care, but I vowed to return every few weeks, and did, for the next six months.

During those months, my dad moved to a rehab center and willed himself to get to his feet for a few minutes at a time, with support, and even took a few steps each week in physical therapy, striving to re-grow the damaged nerves in his body. During an especially cold Chicago winter, we moved him back home for nearly three months, downstairs by the fireplace, and celebrated his birthday there. He was as optimistic and well-spirited as someone could be under the circumstances. Perhaps he was trying to live true to the email sign-off he had been using the last few years, simply: "Enjoy the Moment."

I do not believe those months could have been much better than they were. We were with him during his last days and hours, too, and they were as good as they could have been, until he quietly passed away on April 5.

Words to Live By

We all face such losses in life – the longer we live, the more likely they'll arrive. Although hard, acceptance of this fact ultimately makes life richer. And recognizing the losses we face makes finances important only because you probably don't want your main focus during your time here to be money. You want your finances to be sensible, sustainable, provide for you and your family, and not worry you much (some worry is hard-wired in all of us). Period. My dad admired the Fool, but not because he was interested in finance (as a civil engineer, investing wasn't his forte, but he knew enough to save and invest on autopilot). He admired the Fool because he believed the company wanted to help people improve their lives. That's it. That's everything.

When we were in college, my dad gave my three siblings and me nearly 20 pages of quotations that he had compiled over his lifetime. Of course he liked them, because most of them were written by him. Here are a few of my favorites that can relate to life, investing, and business:


• "The Way" doesn't exist – your way or my way exists – but not "The Way" to do something.

• The hallmark of Maturity is patience – the proof of Maturity is self control.

• A high standard of Personal Ethics is your most important attribute. It will carry you throughout life.


And…


• We tend to become as joyful as our generosity.

• Remember to be gracious with people, but serious about time.

• The greatest priority in life is to enjoy it. Those people that do this are neither selfish nor a burden to anyone.


I'm dedicating the rest of my investing career to my dad, Dennis Fischer. Starting off on the right foot, I want to say thank you again – thank you for being a part of Pro, for putting your trust in the service, and for all of your kind wishes on this board this spring. We will keep moving forward as a team, knowing that strong finances provide all of us with extra freedom, and freedom feeds life.

Thank you to my Dad.

Jeff
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Thank you Jeff, for reminding us of what is truly important. I am sad for your loss and applaud you for being there and absorbing every minute you could with your dad.

My best to you,
Liz
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Well said, Jeff. It's a pleasure to work along side you day in and day out.

I'm certain your father is proud.

Bryan
TMF42
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Wow, what timing for this post. My sincere condolences on your dad. He seems quite a gem. I broke free from my routine last weekend and visited my family in washington for the first time in six months. During that visit with mom and dad, and all the rest of my family that all live next door, I wondered if I could quit being a wage slave and retire on what I had banked. I'm close, damn close.

Jeff, help me get there. Family is all we have.

Scott
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Jeff,

Thank you for sharing some of your father's life and your thoughts with us. My parents transitioned in 2007 so I'm moved and empathetic. I also appreciate what you're saying. I'm turning off my mainframe so I can go play in the bright (and rare) sunshine.

Peace

Bob
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Postscript: those quotes were also gems and have joined my own personal list.

Thank you
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What a wonderful piece! Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts, Jeff.
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Jeff;

We are truly sorry for your loss, but glad that you were able to spend the time you did with your father.

You described a wonderful human being.

Thank you. Thank you for reminding us of what is truly important, through your beautiful tribute.

xsvo
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Thank you for sharing. It has truly blessed me and I've already passed down to my son your father's wisdom. You are a remarkable son.
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Jeff

Thank you for writing about your father and your relationship with him. I so value your work here at Pro and find it helpful your sharing these thoughts about such a pivotal time in your life. My thoughts remain with you and your family.

Grant
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Thanks for making me cry!
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A tremendous message of benefit to all of us. Your dad sounds like quite a grand fellow--thank you for sharing with us. Certainly seems his was a life well led.
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Hi Jeff,
What a beautiful tribute to your father!
Dave B
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Jeff,

Thank you for sharing.

I lost my sister in similar circumstances. She had fought bravely for 14 years, underwent numerous operations, before the last bad cell took her.

It was a long good-bye, she had prepared us well.

I always knew she loved me, what I didn't know was how much, (you don't question about it when you were basking in the grace of a kind person) until she was not there anymore. She was friend, sister and mother in one.

In memory of those we love and who loved us.

vls
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Jeff,

What a touching post. I can see your dad's role in shaping you. Bright, kind, and patient your demeanor never let on about the hard times back home.

Thank you for sharing so much of your father and yourself in this post.

Thanks,
Nick
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Jeff,

Thank you for sharing a beautiful and moving tribute to your father.

I am very sorry for your loss, but happy that you won the father lottery in a big way.

Best regards,

Rich
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Jeff,

So sorry for your loss. I, too, appreciate your sharing a piece of him.

Warm regards,
Beth
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Jeff

What matters is embodied in everything you shared. Sorry for your loss.

I cannot help noticing that both engineering and investing professions have a margin of safety as a central tenet.

-gunnar
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Jeff,

Wow, powerful stuff. Looks like your philosophy of life, though undoubtedly shaped again by this, was already developed well enough to keep your priorities straight and enjoy times with your dad as best as you could while you could. Despite that there were hints now and then, your dedicated presence at the Fool left most everybody unaware of the tough times you were going through until the very end. Good to see you seemingly so together, barely a month later.

Wishing you and your family continued strength.

Leo
--
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Jeff,

Thank you for sharing. I can only be more impressed by your philosophy and dedication to Pro knowing now these events. I'm sorry for your family's loss. Your dad sounds a wonderful man, wonderful family man.

These times -- these losses -- in our lives are not things we 'overcome'. Rather they are the events that become part of us, carried with us, adding perspective and emotion to all that we do. And, in that, they do indeed make life richer. Eventually.

I ultimately joined Pro to (hopefully) reduce some of that worry and concern later in life for my family. Joining Pro remains one of the best, most rewarding, most educating decisions I have made this year. Thank you for making it so.

Best-
TimO
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Jeff,
Thank you for sharing a lovely tribute to your father. You'll always miss him, but your moments will be treasured and of course, he will live on in your memories.

FTT
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Jeff, Wow, what a post. I live thousands of miles from my parents but am actively looking for a new job. I have resisted "moving home" to Kansas City but my thoughts have been coming closer to that idea and while I believe that my 71 year old parents are healthy your post provides some real wisdom.
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Jeff,
Thanks for sharing. The quality time you spent and the memories live on. Thanks for the reminder to treasure the time we have our loved ones.
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I felt very moved when I read your post, Jeff. Clearly your father was a very special person and very much reminds me of my mother-in-law (a self-sacrificing woman with the wisdom of two full lifetimes) who passed away just last year of Alzheimer's.

I feel honored to be a member of Pro and thankful for the lessons that have been imparted to us, the members.

Thank You,
TJ
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Jeff,

Quite a post and quite a father. You are fortunate to have spent so much time with him in his last years. And whether he said it or not, as an engineer (not to mention a person with a solidly grounded set of ethics), he must have been proud of what you are building with MF Pro.

With regards,

Barry
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Hi Jeff,

I also want to add what a beautiful, moving and heart-felt tribute
your wrote about your dad.

Thanks for sharing this personal note with us and letting us know a bit about your dad.

It's hard to believe that you have been leading Pro under such emotionally draining circumstances - with such integrity, maturity, and good humor.

Clearly, you are your dad's son.

All the best to you and your family,
Bill (and my little family)
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Jeff, your words are compelling and the message in them resonates for many of us. --Jay
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A fantastic tribute. I have little doubt that the tremendous relationship you had with your father will one day (many, many years from now) ensure that your own children will be able to look back in a similarly wonderful manner.

Lance
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Jeff,

I share with others in expressing sympathy for the loss of your father and thank you for bringing up the importance of appreciating your parents while they are still around. I (like many other fools, I'm sure) also have parents at advanced ages and am glad to be motivated to visit them as often as I can.

Best Wishes,

Ron
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Hi Jeff,

Thank you for sharing with us. We all grow with experiences, ours and others.

Carpe diem, and remember that's the future is really is not yet known.

Thanks

Vu
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Jeff-

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful expression of your thoughts, respect and love for your Father.

Your post touches many hearts and is beautifully written.

Please accept my sympathy for your family's loss.


John
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Thank you for sharing such a wonderful tribute.

C
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Of your many wise recommendations and observations, these hold enduring value.
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Jeff,

I'm adding my own heartfelt sympathy for you and your family. There's little that I can say that others haven't already said very well, other than to say that I emailed your note to my girlfriend as a way of explaining to her why I spend so much time with Pro.

as always, i am full of carp
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Jeff,

Thanks for sharing. I write this with a heavy heart and a lump in my throat. I know we all have to go through this one day or another but that doesn't make it any easier. We all need to live by those words..."enjoy the moment".

-goat
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Jeff

Thank you for your leadership of Pro.

Dennis Fischer - may you rest in peace. Thank you for your son Jeff; he's eloquently helping us become better persons (and better sons or daughters to our parents, better parents to our children). And better investors.

Mark
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Jeff

You have my deepest sympathy and profound respect.

Best,

Steve
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Jeff,

In a way, I’m glad I didn’t see this post before I went to bed last night, because I’m sure I wouldn’t have slept at all. I can’t say anything more, or certainly better, than the members did before me. Thank you for sharing that. It reinforces what I have said many times about PRO being like a family.

I hope you won’t take offense at this, but at times I have felt like you could have been my son. He and you are much alike and as proud of him as I am, any father would be justifiably as proud of you. The similarities are many in that I was born and raised in Chicago. I’m close to sixty seven and although my father died when I was 13, I tried many times to establish the type of communication you had been blessed with. I find myself now with similar health problems but I try not to dwell on that. This is not my story. It is yours and a very beautiful one at that.

My thoughts reach out to your mother and I hope she is well. Try to continue following your father’s very wise ways.

Regards and with respect,

Bob
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Jeff,

words can't really express what i felt after i read your post, so i'll just leave it at thanking you for sharing such a poignant and enlightening story with your PRO family.

cheers,
wwt17
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Jeff,

Like others have already voiced, thank you for the tribute to your wonderful father. My condolences to your entire family. I also hope that your mother is doing as well as possible at this time. You are definitely your father's son and we are grateful to have you here leading the team at Pro.

Anne
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Umph...

About 3 years ago I lost someone to cancer as well. Although not my natural father, he was like a father to me. He had been my boss, mentor, and ironically ended up as an employee of mine. He was a giant of man in every way.

He is still with me, in the sense that we all absorb qualities of the people we know, especially those we hold in high regard and emulate...they become us and we pass them along to others. We truly are a collection of everyone.

Thanks for your continuing work and dedication to the TMF community during such a tough time.

I have printed "the way" and added it to the short collection of "words to live by" near my desk.

Best,
Ned
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Wonderful post Jeff and I can see in your responses over the past few years how much you live by the philosophy that your father passed on to you.
I am also impressed by the quality of people who subscribe to this service and how this is becoming a happy investing family guided by you and the MFPro staff plus some key contributors.

Wishing you and all others here the best of times.

Rocken
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Jeff, your piece sure brought things home for me. As difficult as it's been for you, your thoughts are very helpful to me. Thanks so much and my condolences to you and your family.
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Jeff,

So sorry to hear about your father. My mother passed about two years ago. She was my best friend before my wife and we remained close as my wife loved her and she LOVED my wife (and my wife's family adopted her at all family gatherings).

She left a note where I would find it - "We never own the people in our lives. We love them, but they are on loan to us. We have them for a moment and then they are gone. Grieve because you will miss me but while you are grieving, don't be mad about the moments you miss me. Rejoice for the minutes we had together."

You used your minutes wisely. Your father sounds like the kind of person that we all wanted to spend our minutes with and your "loan" has paid off tremendously. You are such a good person and he shows in you.

There will be days when you miss him more than others. Keep your treasure of quotations handy (and maybe laminate them) as you will want to look over them from time-to-time as you remember him.

Thanks for all you do.

Maxx
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Jeff,
I am going to borrow fitting tribute from "antmark" to Jeff.

Jeff,
Thank you for your leadership of Pro.

Dennis Fischer - may you rest in peace. Thank you for your son Jeff;
he's eloquently helping us become better person (and better sons or
daughter to our parents, better parents to our children). And better
investors.

elizabeth

ps: antmark - thank you for allowing me to borrow your tribute
to Jeff
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Jeff,

Your father must have been quite proud, to have raised such a considerate, and caring son. Thank you for sharing this wonderful, heartfelt tribute to your dad.

Sincerily,

Tom
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God Bless
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Jeff,

Parents surely want their children to have more opportunities and a better life than they had. But they also hope that their children will have a positive impact on others lives and the world at large.

Hopefully you can take solace in the fact--as the previous 46 posts are testament--that you gave, and continue to give, your father the best a son can offer.

My deepest sympathies.

Mike
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Jeff,

As was your father, I am a lover of quotes. One of my favorites (and one I try to live by) is by Abraham Lincoln:

"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."

By that mark, your father lived a rich and memorable life. And so can we all if we follow his example.

I am sorry for your loss but we are blessed to have you as our leader at Pro.

Best regards, Steve
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Jeff, there is not much I can add to the previous posts which sum up my appreciation for your leadership here.

Sharing your thoughts in such a way has had and I'm sure will have a profound effect on many Pro members. Thank you for doing so. You have taken this community to a new level. I feel like we're part of something special.

All the best to you and your family.
jack
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Jeff-

I wanted to join the chorus here and offer you my condolences.

I lost my wife to breast cancer in 2004 and my Mom to lung cancer in 2007. It's definitely difficult.

Somehow, life goes on, but give yourself the time to grieve and things will gradually return to "normal". I still get sad when I think about Susan (my wife) and sometimes she still inhabits my dreams, even after 7 years, but life does move on!

Paul
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Hello Jeff,

Sharing with us about your Dad is part of being in a family. I am honored to be part of your family. Thank you.
God Bless
Dave
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Jeff, I want to express my sympathy to you and your family. So many have already said so well my own thoughts. So I'll just say that I've followed you around the Fool, and elsewhere for 13 years, not because of what you do, but more for who you are.....an honest, giving, and caring person. Thanks for all you do !....Mitch
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Jeff,
I would like to share my most heartfelt sympathies to you and your family; I can only imagine that you are all still dealing with many of the issues that come with a parent passing. It truly makes you reflect on what’s important in life and really changes the way in which you go about every decision you make. I can’t imagine just a month out you having the ability to write such a profound post, I’m sure it’s very cathartic for you to compile your thoughts and share them with your extended family (Pro). Though we only know you through your posts, it surely paints a picture of the man, a fairly familiar picture very similar to the one you painted of a man you have dedicated the rest of your investing career to!
Hopefully, you have also shared this post (or your written thoughts in another form) with the rest of your family and your mother as well. I’m sure they will appreciate them as much as we here at Pro do.

Words to Live By

We all face such losses in life – the longer we live, the more likely they'll arrive. Although hard, acceptance of this fact ultimately makes life richer. And recognizing the losses we face makes finances important only because you probably don't want your main focus during your time here to be money. You want your finances to be sensible, sustainable, provide for you and your family, and not worry you much (some worry is hard-wired in all of us). Period.”

A fact that many of never read in the Child Handbook we were all given when we were born (*wink), wish I hadn’t lost mine! It is unfortunate that it really takes a loss for (many/some) of us to realize that what is truly important in life. This generally starts us on the path to introspection … and trying to compile those pearls of wisdom of what we believe make life “really” important, like those that your father shared with you.

I have one of them hanging in my office, from a book by Stephen Covey (“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”) which I read many years ago. This is the book from which this often quoted line is taken: “How many people on their deathbed wish they’d spent more time at the office?” , maybe not the most profound it was the beginning for me to try and prioritize my life and not miss the events that make life worth living; the soccer game, dance recital, etc…<fill in event of choice here>.

I believe all of us that strive to have others (whether it be children, friends, parents, peers) describe us using many of the adjectives you used to describe your father. A life well lived!

"Enjoy the Moment." (used with the utmost respect),

Eric
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hi Jeff,
My heartfelt condolences on the loss of your father. From your post it is clear he had a profound impact on your life, and who you strive to be. As parents, we spend a lot of time talking (sometimes loudly), teaching, pleading, threatening, etc., hoping our words will have an impact on our kids. It seems your father has done an enviable job.(did he write a book i can get my hands on?)

All the best.

jason
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Jeff - May God bless and keep you & your entire family. He AND your Dad are undoubtedly watching over you.
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Jeff-

Strong values, integrity and character aren't just picked up anywhere. After witnessing yours for almost 3 years now, I can tell your father was a great man.

My condolences,
Greg
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Hi Jeff,
What a moving tribute to your Dad. I'm thankful that he lived long enough to see what a caring, thoughtful and insightful son he raised - there can be no higher tribute to him than the legacy he left behind -you, Jeff, and I'm sure he "enjoyed each moment" that he had with you.
Christy
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Jeff it's beautiful to have had such a wonderful relationship with your dad. May it last you for your lifetime. It's a treasure in so many respects.
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Jeff,
What a great post and tribute to your Dad!! Makes us rethink our "Moments". Thanks,
RunTex
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Thank you to everyone for your thoughts, kind words, and sharing... I appreciate each post in this thread very much, as I suspect others do, too.

Bob (trurl9), my condolences on the loss of your parents in 2007.

vls100, I'm very sorry you lost your sister in that way.

TimO (SirGhost), thank you. Your thoughts are excellent on not "overcoming" a loss per se (that's not the point), but moving forward.

Kabrink, best of luck in your search for a new job and your move "home"!

TJ (shah0048), my sympathies on the loss of your mother-in-law.

Bob (oldfart1946), we're sorry you lost your dad so young, and we'll be thinking of your own health. Take good care, enjoy, and you know you can always post your thoughts when you want to.

Ned (nrlbuild), thank you for honoring my dad's quotes in that way (and thank you to the others here who have)... that means a lot to me. I'm sorry you lost your friend and father figure.

Maxx (Wantingmaxvalue), thank you very much for sharing those words from your mother. They're truly wonderful and wise (post 7391), and I plan to share them.

Paul (DolonAltekar) -- I'm very sorry to hear you lost your wife and mother both to cancer. Thank you sincerely for posting and sharing your thoughts as you move onward...

Mitch (itch) -- always good to see you these last 13 years. Thank you.

Thank you to everyone; I appreciate each and every post in this thread and I know I always will.

Best,

Jeff
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Jeff,

Thank you.....huge!

"• The greatest priority in life is to enjoy it. Those people that do this are neither selfish nor a burden to anyone."

Gene1072
Who is back from a family crisis too and sees a lot of "I am come that you might have life more abundantly" in this quote of your dad's. There must be some great life going on where he is now. Meanwhile: Faith, Family, & Finance
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Jeff,

Like so many before me, your post contained great words to live by. My condolences to you, and your family for your loss. We'll put you in our prayers.

Mark
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Jeff,

From myself and my family, our thoughts, prayers and thanks go out to you and your family. We have no doubt that you'll keep your good spirit and sense of what matters, at the forefront of all that you do. Don't ever lose the smiles!

All our best,

Zaya and family
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Thanks Jeff,

Going through these life experiences can be very profitable for character building and developing a beneficial perspective. Going through a death of someone close can be such an eye opening or life changing experience. It puts you in a special club that , as you well know, other people do understand unless they have been there themselves. We will have to sit down for coffee when I come out to DC to visit you folks. We have similar experiences to share.
Thank you for sharing. I appreciate your work at the Fool and the insights that you have provided me through the service. I more greatly appreciate your commitment to your family and the time and care you provided your father in the past. That is an awesome investment. That kind of investment is always a mega-bagger.

kendal
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I have been away spending time with my Dad during this thread and just read it today (5/23). As usual, it was a stressful visit, as he is in the cranky stage of his dementia. Your post had a very grounding effect on me and I will endeavor to enjoy all my moments with him regardless of his state.

Thanks for the contribution to my life.

Mickfooled
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Visiting my family overseas, perfect time for me to have read this beautiful thread. Thank you Dennis Fisher (RIP), thank you Jeff and thank you fellow Fools.
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Thank you, ckmd, for your kind post.

I hope you enjoy your family visit...

With best wishes,

Jeff
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No. of Recommendations: 5
Jeff,

Every time the market drops sharply and I become a little anxious about my portfolio, I come back to this post.

It refocuses me on what really is important and reminds me to enjoy the moment….


Your patience, modesty, compassion and character shined brightly as the leader of PRO…..


I was just thinking of how I navigated the last financial crisis and you instantly came to mind.
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