Saturday, June 6, 2009

Godspeed, Victoria

The best manager I ever had died Thursday. She was far too young to have developed Alzheimer's Disease and passed away before her 53rd birthday. Victoria Ellen Reese was as brilliant as she was beautiful. She never brought it up and seemed almost embarrassed to have been selected Miss Atlanta in the Miss America pageant circuit. She was gracious and at the same time gutsy in a way I've never seen before nor since. She was unique. Victoria -- Vicki never suited her -- was born prematurely and had to fight to survive. She grew into a tall, slender, classy woman with a perfect complexion and graceful carriage. If that makes her sound snooty -- HA! She had an earthy sense of humor to match anyone's. She also knew the appropriate time and place to let it out. She took her work as seriously as I took mine. Many evenings, after working hours, a few of us would gather informally with her to discuss what was going on at work and in our private lives. Perhaps this was due to our being women, but it was something we looked forward to. Thinking back now, I wince remembering how often she joked about having Alzheimer's which she pronounced All-himers. We never saw even a hint of what was to come. Could she have known so many years ago? It's always tragic when someone young dies. With Victoria's passing, it's doubly so because she had such a good mind before this pernicious disease stole it. She had a positive impact on many more lives than she perhaps realized. Those of us who loved and admired her are going to have a hard time trying to fill the gap her loss leaves in our lives. Life isn't fair. I believe that events like this remind us to take nothing for granted and to make the most of every day.

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