On February 13, 2013 my dear father passed from this earth. The sorrow, loss, and insurmountable anguish I felt and continue to feel is more than I can describe here. My saving grace, the things that keep me putting one foot in front of the other and embracing each day and what it contains are the important life lessons he's left me. His simple but effective wisdom lives on as does the remembrance of his daily habits, all which implied his keys to the kingdom. Although this is not an exhaustive list, I'd like to share some of these life lessons with you.
Live Your Passion
Hard work was always important to my dad. I remember giving him a quote that I cut out from the paper once. It said, "The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary." He kept that quote at his desk for as long as I can remember. My father built a beautiful business surrounding himself and his passion; he put his personal imprint on everything he did. Everyone who walked into his Corvette dealership was made to feel special and would always have their unique needs met. In his 41 years of doing business, he never faltered. I watched him daily, in awe every step of the way. To me, it is my dad who should be in the dictionary, his name after the word "success."
Stay Close to Your Friends and Family
My dad had an extensive slide and photo library. He kept the slides in the basement of our childhood home and adorned the walls of his business with his photographs. He would disappear for hours on Sundays and holidays viewing reel after reel of past experiences, his days in the army while stationed in Hawaii, early Daytona 500 races he attended with his friends and pictures of my brother and me as kids at our camp in the Adirondacks of New York. "We sure did a lot of living," he would always say to us as he emerged from the basement teary-eyed. "I just want more time," he would say, frequently.
My dad always let us kids, as well as his customers, know that these experiences he captured were everything to him. He took his camera everywhere he went. "These are the good old days," he would tell customers as they viewed the plethora of pictures at the shop. "Not then, but today, right now. We have to make the best of them."
Sometimes Things Must Change
My dear father always had a knack for timing. "Knows when to hold 'em and knows when to fold 'em," my mom always said of him. He knew that timing was key in making a great car purchase, in selling to the right customer. My dad knew the art of growth and change. He did not ever like to make waves or "draw lines" as he put it. Yet even in his last days he told us, "Just hang on. I'm telling you, I'm going to get better, Summer's coming."
My dad understood life is filled with love and loss, customers and friends, family and memories. He also knew that nothing lasts forever just as each experience turned to a photograph and each car he carefully detailed needed to be sold. My father taught me what was important: to love and live with reckless abandon, and always to trust my heart. And from today forward when I pass by a beautiful Corvette on the street, I'll do a double take and for a second I'll pretend it's my dad behind the wheel... taking one more Summer drive.
In memory of William H. Turner June 23, 1940 - February 13, 2013