By Johnny Hill

Dear Bruce,

Our chairman of the board today talked about the uncertainty of life and how much that rang true when you left us last week to walk with our Lord.

The uncertainty and suddenness of your departure slapped a memory of a distant friend, Joel Zahorski, who made the walk you are walking now when I was a junior in High school, and a song. The song was called “Don’t know what you got” (till it’s gone). Inside joke about big-hair bands that I will forever keep our secret. Unfortunately, I realized, after Joel had passed, the friend I had in him.

I have played back our relationship over and over the past week. I realize that most of our conversations were less about business (you in finance and me in operations) and more about sports, interests, our history, and our families. Don’t get me wrong, we both lived and breathed Clearfield but that wasn’t all there was in life. I enjoy equal-opportunity “ribbing” and while you didn’t get it at first, you definitely came around with some zingers of your own. I relished the day you would wear a sweater vest! While you had a different way about you, I came around to your “style” and we had fun with each other.

I saw your gift of friendship everywhere at your wake last night and what a wonderful example of the impact you have had on your colleagues, friends, and family. By the way, Mitchell is a fine young man. I was struck by the likeness and the same mannerisms. His composure and the way he carried himself could have only come from you. He has and will continue to make you proud.

I often talk about and work hard to protect the culture we have at Clearfield. You will forever have a place in the culture of Clearfield and always remind me to think about the special gifts that are around us each and every day and to be sure to look for and embrace them.

In similar fashion to my friend Joel, I realize that our relationship was first defined by something less and then evolved into something more.

I will miss you, my friend.

P.S. Next time I see you, can you please be sure to wear the U of M sweater vest?”