A Tribute to Some Friends
by Frank Mecham, Paso Robles Mayor
Over the past several years, on the last Tuesday of each month, I have met with a group of gentlemen for coffee and breakfast. The discussions flow from world news to local news. Then, typically we move on to more interesting discussions. We reminisce about Paso Robles and the surrounding area.
The wealth of knowledge and history is fascinating. The depth of their knowledge about this community is truly amazing. They come from all walks of life and different perspectives. Yet, there is a common parallel with each of them. They respect each other and they love this community.
Periodically, I receive a note from one of them, thanking me for taking the time to come visit and share city news and events. I am always in awe of this because it is I who should be sending thank you notes to each of them for the wonderful experience in which they have allowed me to participate.
Myself, and former Mayor Chris Iverson, are the youngest of the group. That itself will tell you the broad range of experience of the others. Originally, the group was made up of Coach Gil Asa, Mr. Bob Hermanson, Mr. Bill Dellard, former judge Dean McNutt, Mr. Phil Dirx, Chris and I. Occasionally, we will have company and others will join us. These have been some of the most fascinating conversations I’ve been privileged to be a part.
Sadly, over the past few years we have lost some of our group. Coach Gil Asa was the first to leave us. He was my freshman football and basketball coach, an incredible man and one of my closest friends. Bob Hermanson left us next. He was a brilliant man who could discuss any topic on any level. He and I often shared books we’ve read.
The latest is Mr. Bill Dellard. Mr. Dellard was a quiet, peaceful man, who was an educator, a historian and World War II veteran. He was also my High School English teacher and principal. He was, and continues to be, one of the most well-respected educators and community leaders our city has known.
We will continue to meet. We will continue to reminisce. We will miss those that have left us. Over the years they have all become treasured friends. Now, we are down to four. However, we will always feel the presence of the three gentlemen that have peacefully passed on. We will never forget them and will often include them in our discussions.
“I wonder what Bill would say about that?” Someone will ask. “Coach would have loved that”, somebody may comment. Or, “Bob would have an interesting perspective on that”, someone might add.
I’m sure we’ve all heard it said that one would like to think they left the world a better place than that in which they found it. Many have said it, not many can accomplish it. These gentlemen have all accomplished that and more. They have all left behind a legacy. Their handprints will forever remain on a community that appreciates, respects and will never forget them. It has truly been an honor and a privilege to have known them and to be included in their lives.
And to those that remain, thank you. You’ve have been an incredible influence on my life. I’ll see you on Tuesday.