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R.I.P. Timothy J. Locke

This is the eulogy that I will give later today for my best friend. He was born on 7 September 1963 and passed away on 26 April 2013 at 10:40 AM. He fought kidney cancer the past year and had to endure a slow, yet painful death that I talked about in my last article. I tried my best to capture the spirit of our conversations this past year. He knew early on that he had at best six to twelve months to live. He also knew that the medications he would take had about a 10% chance of succeeding. He did his best to make peace with it and made right in everyone’s eyes. In the end, as he took his last breath, he was surrounded by his family and everyone knew how much he loved them.

I will miss him and here is my story…

Tim would be very happy to see so many of us here today. It is times like this one that clearly let us know how both fragile and precious life is for each one of us. I believe that God only takes those, no matter what their age, when he feels they are ready to come back home to Him. I am here today to tell you what both Tim and his family have meant to me. More importantly, I want to share with you how Tim Locke made me a better person.

I would like to start with a few quotes, before I begin with my own words. These words are from Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.

Samuel Johnson wrote that “It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives.” I find both strength and wisdom in each of those quotes.

Tim loved Leah, his wife of 27 years and his children (Karen, Geena and Erik) very much. He always talked about them, since they were first and foremost on his mind. He lived for his family and that is what many of us remember about him. It is also what made him so special.

As for me, I met Tim in 2008, when we were working together in Las Vegas and fate would bring us together via a software product called Mariposa. Like most relationships, we started off as strangers and it did not start smoothly.

The first time we met, I was checking mail on my smart phone and it just annoyed him. When we started talking however it become clear that it was a great fit for both of us. He needed someone with a strong technical background and I needed a personable manager, who could provide clear direction.

I can clearly recall what started our friendship. It was a simple act of kindness by me, where I had no expectations I offered to take him to the airport and pick him up when he flew back from San Diego every week. It was during this time when the economy had really taken a dive and money was tight for everyone. That act of kindness started opening a lot more doors. I do not think that either one of us knew it at the time, but our friendship would grow due to the little things we would do for one another.

I read a book a few years ago; where they said a relationship is like a bank account. You need to maintain a positive balance for it to hold a meaningful value. Over time, you will need to deposit into this account and the system only works if you put in more than you take. I see relationships the same way and I agree that it is better to give than receive.

Before too long, we become roommates and it started out rough for Tim. I have a dog named Foxy Brown and at this time she was a three-month old puppy, who was not yet house broken.

On the night we moved in, Foxy had pooped the entire length of the hallway from his bedroom to the front door. Let’s just say that started a special relationship for both of them. A few weeks later, Foxy would strike again. This time she had barged into his bathroom and started ramming the glass door with her head. Needless to say, Tim was just trying to defend himself with a bar of soap and a shampoo bottle. Of course he had to tell everyone at work about it. Tim loved playing the victim and nothing was ever his fault. That is a trait of his that I dearly miss about him.

The best moment was when he fell asleep on the couch and Foxy had jumped up there to snuggle with him. I was in the other room, but this moment would soon catch my attention, when they both started to snore. Of course, I had to email Tim and a bunch of close friends, where he did not know a single person. Foxy loves Tim was the title of the email I sent that day with those pictures.

foxytim

Here is another photo:

foxytim2

I will never forget the time when I first met Leah. She quickly saw that we basically had no food and went grocery shopping. I think it was the first time that we actually felt human in that apartment. I would not be at all surprised if that trip was not motivated by the fact Tim admitted to eating Foxy’s dog treats. Not only did he admit that he ate a few of them, but they also tasted really good.

When I look back, I see the reason that our friendship grew was not because of some major events. The real significance of our relationship is that it simply continued. We both went in different directions where could have easily lost touch, but we understood that we had a special bond and kept it alive. As I speak to you today, I realize what Tim and his family has taught me regarding relationships, especially great ones, they are not based on needs. Instead they are built over time and one you start down this continuum, you realize that all you really did was accept and uplift one another.

I was raised a Christian, but I know some people have their doubts with religion. They look at the Bible as a book of rules that tell you what you can and can’t do. Sadly, I think a lot of people overlook a more important lesson, the ability to love one another. If you just look at Jesus’ travels, you will see that it was all about the people he met and the actions he took to make a difference. I am not sure why so many people fail to see that important teaching, but I wonder if that is why so many people are unhappy today. We desire to be accepted, but yet some get hung up on a perception that causes them to feel alone, angry and betrayed.

It was great to see so many neighbors offer love and support to the Locke family this past year and especially these past few months. I saw a lot of love and acts of kindness to a family that really appreciated it.

I do hope that more people will find this simple truth. Life is short and you should live it with no regrets. Stop focusing on what you do not have and remind yourself how blessed you are with what you have today. Do not doubt the power you have as a person to make a difference in the others. You never know when you might say or do an act of kindness to someone that inspired them to keep fighting onward.

I could not imagine my life today without Tim being such a key part of it. I find comfort that God has Tim snug closely in his arms and is welcoming him home. I will long to hear his constant rants that usually led him to picking on me, which showed me how much he cared.

As I close this speech, I would like to share another quote from Steve Jobs.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

I find comfort in those words as I also start to embrace my own mortality. Live each day as if it is your last. Then remember that we can all make a difference when we choose to give a little bit of ourselves without taking away more than we gave.

God bless you all and I will you miss you Tim. Thank you for being a great friend.

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3 Responses to “R.I.P. Timothy J. Locke”

  1. Judy Herrmann #

    Thank you for posting this Scott. I believe it was you I met on Tim’s last birthday in Alpine. I cried when I read this. Hope you are well.

    Judy (Tim’s sister)

    October 6, 2013 at 1:49 AM
    • Scott Mattie #

      Hey Judy,

      Yes, it was me that you met on his birthday and I miss your brother… he was a great friend.

      October 9, 2013 at 5:03 PM
  2. Anthony Sabri #

    Hi Judy,

    Not sure if you remember me after all these years. I just today learned of Tim’s passing. I am in shock and utter disbelief. I’ve thought of Tim often and wondered where he took off to in his adventures. I saw him & Leah many, many years ago at a friend’s wedding and we had a great time catching up and reminiscing. I believe he was living in the Harbison Canyon area (Leah’s parent place, I think). We vowed to stay in touch and then the next thing I knew he had reportedly moved to somewhere in Arizona. Never heard from him after that.
    We had some great times growing up. He was a near and dear friend, even when we lost touch. Friendships like that never end. I have missed him and I will continue to miss him.
    How are you and the rest of the family doing?

    October 9, 2013 at 12:33 PM
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