Today a great man was born. I wish he were still with us but we unfortunately lost him last November when he passed away peacefully at home due to complications with cancer.
George Michael Pappas is someone I will never forget. He was a mentor, a role model, a leader, and a true inspiration to me. He had the type of friendly personality that allowed him to connect with almost everyone who came into contact with him. He would often have complete strangers smiling and laughing in no time. He could (and often would) look you in the eye and tell to you exactly how he saw things, whether it was good news or bad. But even if it was bad news, you walked away knowing he truly cared and you were still okay in his eyes.
Our working relationship goes back more than a quarter century when my first act as a Modernfold RSM was to bring his new business, The Pappas Company, on board as their distributor. During the years that passed I was amazed at the people who knew George and would greet him as an old friend. I looked forward to my travels with him promoting the construction products we sold together. He made working fun and taught me a lot, not only about work but also about life. He never preached, but instead taught by example through the way that he lived.
George Pappas demonstrated the importance of trust, respect, hard work, and most of all love. He surrounded himself with family and anyone that worked with him soon became a friend. I will always remember George as a truly successful man. Today, on his birthday, I am reminded of the words (with a slight modification by me) of the American writer Bessie Anderson Stanley* who wrote… “What is Success?”
He achieved success who has lived well,
laughed often, and loved much;
Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women,
the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth’s beauty or failed to express it;
Who has left the world better than he found it,
Whether an improved person, a perfect folding partition installation,
or a rescued soul;
Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory a benediction.
For those who want a little something to remember him by, below is a short video from before George was diagnosed with cancer during his 2012 Company holiday party.
*Bessie Anderson Stanley is the author of the poem Success (What is success? or What Constitutes Success?), which is often incorrectly attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson or Robert Louis Stevenson.