Kind of a long story, and a sad one at that.
I'm at home in Illinois this weekend, and attended the homecoming football game and after game tailgating party last night, including our first ever BruinsJam, which I helped to organize. Big stage, lots of great talent, and nearly everyone who performed was a graduate of the school, from the classes of '64 straight through to '15.
It's not my reunion year (I was in the Class of '80), but I've been going every year of late, and really enjoying the opportunity to catch up with people from the surrounding classes. It's a small Catholic high school (about 100 students per class) on a 1,000 acre campus with a monastery, apple orchard, an amazing art barn, lots of farm land, and deep woods leading down to a river. I'm on the steering committee for a $20 million capital campaign project, and we use the homecoming weekend as an opportunity to connect with some of our key donor targets on a social level.
One such highly successful person was Bill Prokup, from the Class of '82 (see pic of him and I from last night), who was a great guy and someone who (oddly enough) always seemed to look up to me. He went to Illinois State as an accounting major, and overlapped with my time there just long enough to enroll in the intermediate accounting course that I was teaching. I had done my bachelor's in 3 years and my master's in a year and a half, and then joined the faculty on a full time basis for just one semester. So it would have been my 5th year out of high school and Bill's junior year in college.
So we've always had that connection, in kind of a big brother, little brother type of way. He was an A student at ISU, and went on to become a CPA and eventually left public accounting and started his own company in a totally unrelated business, which he was always quite humble about... but somehow, out of thousands of graduates, managed to land himself on the list of our top 75 most capable donors. While I wasn't, last night, directly talking with him about the capital campaign, he did bring it up to let me know that he was very much supportive and that we could count on him to be a part of it.
Then I opened Facebook this afternoon and learned that he died of a massive heart attack at around midnight. Attached is a pic of he and I taken at about 9pm, and he seemed perfectly fine. He was a great guy. A humble man with a gentle spirit. I'm shocked, and will really miss him, and feel gutted for his wife and kids.
As Warren Zevon would say, "enjoy every sandwich."