June 6, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Robert

On a Lake Ohara painting trip - Bob Genn(right), me (center) and friends.
(photo by Liz Wiltzen)

It's been over a week now since I got the news of Robert Genn's passing. I have wanted to write this post but was fighting for the words to succinctly describe my thoughts about this singular individual.

I met Robert many years ago, and right from our first meeting, I thought “I have never known anyone quite like this ”. What set him apart, in my book, was the level of passion he brought to living his life as fully as he could. He said what he meant, and meant what he said, and did not suffer fools gladly.

He exploited every opportunity to learn, explore, travel, discuss, paint and write, He possessed a boundless curiosity, passion and energy.

In conversations we had as he neared the end of his life, it was obvious to me that he had chosen to die in the fashion which he chose to live: with purpose, intention, passion and, well.....curiosity. He was a student of his own process on this journey, and from all I can tell, he remained at the helm of his own life right until the day he left.

In the months leading up to the end, Bob would quip with me “ I am having to spend an awful lot of time trying to cheer people up! “ and the irony made us both laugh.

Bob was not just my mentor, but  also my friend. We talked about the transition from life to death and how it is easier to die well if you have lived well. Although he taught me much about painting and the business of painting, the deepest lesson I learned was around how to live fully – the last and greatest lesson I learned was how  to die well. I am certain he passed from this life with a full heart and no regrets.

I can't imagine how deeply Bob's beloved family will miss him, but for me it feels a little as though there is one less star in the sky.

  Bob, I will miss you. And if we can paint in the next life, I am sure that you already have a dozen canvases finished and signed.

With deepest appreciation and love,

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a beautiful tribute, Gaye. I only knew Robert Genn through his written words, but I can see just what you mean. What a lovely thought -- to pass from this life with a full heart and no regrets.