Sunday, October 16, 2011


Back in late 95/early 96, after Robby died, I decided I needed a change. I didn't like my job and wanted something different. I wanted to work with my hands. I wanted good benefits, and a solid retirement plan. One of my friends was serving his apprenticeship as a union electrician. This sounded perfect for me.

I applied for the electrician apprenticeship program, but was turned down. At the time, Angie was working for a very small health insurance firm in Des Moines. She told me that their accountant's husband, Chuck, suggested that I try to apply to the sheet metal worker's program as well. I didn't know Chuck, but decided to give it a shot. I got in and exceeded in apprenticeship school.

Shortly after I finished by apprenticeship, I was asked to come into the office and take over for the retiring estimator. Soon after I started my new position as estimator, I met Chuck Leysath for the first time. Chuck worked in the office as an estimator for the piping side. Chuck was about 30 years older than me. He was born and raised in New Orleans. He had a thick southern accent. Chuck always called it as he saw it. Always. He pulled no punches. You always knew if Chuck didn't like something, just as you'd know if he did. Chuck was an avid reader. He also remembered everything he ever read. Chuck was a walking encyclopedia. Everyone came to him for answers. He always had them.

About 2 years ago, there was some office shuffling done at work and Chuck and I ended up sharing an office. For the past 2 years or so, I've spent every Monday through Friday sitting next to Chuck. We've become great friends. I've learned so much from him. Chuck is the reason I am doing this job that I love.

Chuck passed away last night. Lung cancer took him out. I'm going to miss him a lot.

Tomorrow will be Robby's 17th birthday.

This is my 300th post on TeaBag.