December 27, 2011
A Farewell Tribute To Our Friend, Doug Maddox
Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests, Friends and Family, for those of you whom I have not had the pleasure to meet, I am Doug's friend Bill Rowell, a dairyman from Vermont. My brother Brian and I milk 1000 Holsteins, our operation was Vermont's Dairy Farm of the Year for 2008.
Douglas and I were both founding members of the National Dairy Producers Organization, he nominated me for the office of Chairman, a position I presently hold, and an honor for which I owe him a debt of gratitude. We had partnered up several years earlier to have a hand at shaping National Dairy Policy, no small task, and have travelled extensively together throughout the United States, we found ourselves many times in Washington D.C. either sitting before Congressional Delegates, or presenting our cause to yet another committee. Come early spring, we were headed to Italy for a presentation, and had recently been in Argentina to represent the U.S. Dairy Industry before an International Congress of Milk Producing Nations; just a few days before this Dear Friend was called to be with The Lord, we were in Quebec City, there he presented his life's story to an audience of more than 500 people. Doug's talk, as he called it, captivated the audience within a few minutes, by the end they were entranced; it was an incredible performance which lasted for one hour, and it was to be his last.
Douglas taught me many things, one was the value of friends, their importance, and a responsibility to properly represent them when they were not present, this is such a time.
Today, we recognize and give thanks for his shining example of leadership, and for the many lessons taught by a fellow whose ideals came to shape the dairy industry, he worked to improve conditions for everyone, and to help ensure a future; it was his lifelong endeavor, one which defined our friend as we knew him, and don't kid yourself, he loved every minute of it, Doug Maddox.
Douglas was a successful businessman, and eternal optimist, but the root of his being was that of educator, he was a careful patient mentor who would direct people toward something better without their knowledge. During a discussion with him you would at some point, no doubt, find yourself defending, recounting your thoughts from beginning to end in order to justify something as being either right, or otherwise, and subsequently talking to yourself while doing so. During the process he would remain largely quiet, though not entirely, this was your opportunity to prove yourself to yourself. An eventual response indicating that you got it, regardless of subject matter, would generate that radiant smile, and a bit of discussion from a friend. I once asked him why if he knew the answer he didn't speak up ? His response, "Hey Bill, really, giving somebody the answer doesn't necessarily do anything for them, if they don't know how to get there on their own, the answer would be of little use"; "you should educate yourself everyday, otherwise you will begin to fail."
Douglas would have been 76 this January 2'nd, his display of passion for the future was best summarized with a statement he made last week during his presentation in Quebec City, "If you want to do something positive for a kid, their future, and our industry, give them a calf to show". Douglas told me that a short time ago Matilda, his sweetheart and wife of many years, had observed they knew thousands of wonderful people, and that most of them think they're family; his response, "Well gee Matilda, they are aren't they? In Doug's absence, we face the increased burden of responsibility now incumbent upon us, our responsibility is to practice the wisdom of his lessons, benefit from those years of experience and insight, and recognize his example for the blessing it is.
I would now like to share a comment, followed by a brief poem, sent our way by Doug's friend, Dr. Pearse Lyons, who is visiting family in Europe this Christmas. He writes: I cannot get his smiling face out of my mind, and ultimately that is the way to keep him in my memory; happy, caring, sharing, and always looking toward the future.
Dear Doug Maddox, friend, what can I say about you? Only one thing. Thanks for being there.
Thanks for being here. Thanks for making the dash worthwhile.
The Dash, by Linda Ellis
I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend,
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end.
He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own,
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard;
Are there things you'd like to change ?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we' ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile,
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So when your eulogy is being read
With your life's actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash ?
Our beloved friend was an exceptional person, one of but few salted among us to teach the lessons, set the example, and show us the path.
Heavenly Father, we stand before you today, and offer thanks for our friend Doug Maddox, We recognize him Lord as a blessing from you, we ask that you find a place for him in your house of many rooms, and grant him everlasting peace. Douglas, on behalf of a grateful industry, you are honored from many nations, we salute you.
God Bless You.
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