this last week saw the departure of a most dear mentor, academic, and perhaps friend, in the passing away of Prof. Geofferey Shellam. i write only briefly because i know that regardless of how verbose i can attempt to be, no justice can be done to the memory of such a great person, and it would seem a slighting of character to pretend to be able to elaborate on Geoff. his funeral was private, as all respectable ones should be, but there was a well-deserved reception in his memory that was held last week at winthrop hall. i should have found that the event was, perhaps, my first of such a scale, or if not, then the first one in a very long time (i do recall, as a child, some christian funerals in the family that may have been similar); and was in good taste. though i have always been awed and inspired by Geoff’s academic achievements (what with his thousands of publications and the plethora of prestigious positions he had held), what came to light during his eulogy was predominantly his social life, and all his successes outside of work. needless to say, the personal Geoff is just as impressive as the academic Geoff. apparently, he sailed and played the diggeridoo, read and wrote, and of course, travelled (as much as he could) and loved (as intently as one can). i will not elaborate on him, where others have done so more eloquently, but perhaps, if a bit of introspection is permissible, i would take with me not to let go of the things that make us persons outside the academic life (one which i have not even begun, yet, if ever). and to this, i should strive for other ventures - in writing, in reading, in diving, in singing. and, of course, that i should see his widow, Fiona, both saddened at his death, and (perhaps, in retrospect) happy that his life should be celebrated as it was - one can only hope to have (given) the love and compassion Geoff shared for family, friends, and beloved.
p/s: i would normally refer to said person as Prof. Geoff, but to his thousands of insistences that i just call him ‘Geoff’, i am very much happy to oblige, and can say no longer am i to feel awkward with saying so! rest in peace.