Wednesday, November 02, 2011

One of the Best

We all have our favorites among the many different people who cross our paths as we journey through life. At the top of my list is Bill Huse.

I worked at Bill's biotech company many years ago, at the time my husband was first hospitalized with cancer. That year was very hard, but it would have been even more difficult without Bill. Each day, when I returned from my lunch break, Bill would stop by my desk to ask, "How's Pete?" I would launch into the medical crisis of the day. This busy MD-PhD-CEO would then take the time to explain what was happening to Pete, why the doctors were doing what they were doing, and what we could expect to happen next. He always used simple language, sometimes drawing diagrams as he talked to help me understand his explanations.

Bill was probably the only true genius I've known. A graduate of M.I.T. and the Albert Einstein School of Medicine, he had also been a neurobiology professor at Yale. He was a scientific inventor with over 50 patents. He could discuss molecular biology and DNA sequencing with the ease I display when talking about my favorite movies. Yet he was completely unpretentious and down-to-earth. You could talk to Bill about anything. His sense of humor was mischievous and delightful and his kindness always close to the surface.

I moved on to many subsequent jobs in my career, but if I had to go back to work for any former boss and could choose which one, it would be Bill Huse.

Today I learned that Bill died in August. Upon reading the news, a heavy sadness settled over me. Although it has been three years since we last spoke, I always think of Bill fondly and with deep gratitude for his thoughtfulness to me at a time of personal crisis.

While we were working together, I once asked Bill if he believed in God. He told me he didn't. That's okay, Bill. I know that God believed in you. Rest in peace, dear friend.