Linda Smith January 28th, 2008

Dear Katy - I was fortunate to be able to work with your father for 4 years. I helped him produce eight conferences for the Alliance for Regional Stewardship. He was an honorable, heartful man. I used to tease him that I concocted a game called "The Six Degrees of Separation from John Parr". Whatever city I traveled to, I could walk up to a group of people and ask the question "Does anyone here know John Parr" and unfailingling over a six year period someone always replied "Yes I know John Parr". His influence, compassion, hardwork, connecting spread far and wide and I was so very very fortunate to be able to be in his circle of energy. Your Mom edited my first book. She had such a vibrancy about her and her edits were perfect. More than that though, she, like your father, had such a capacity for joy and compassion. I called her on the Monday after Chase graduated. When she answered the phone I said "Is this the mother of a high school graduate?" The first thing she said to me was that she wanted to acknowledge how hard it must be for me to celebrate other parent's children's victories when I had lost my own son at such a young age. That's how open-hearted your mother was. And, I have a story about Chase. I mentor a now 18 year old hispanic girl since she was 12. I told your Dad when she was entering East High School that Alex was a little nervous about going to the school. Your Dad told Chase, Chase sought out Alex, took her under her wing and introduced her to everyone and always made a point to check in with her. Alex told me a year or two later that the clicks at East High were intense but there wasn't one person in the school who didn't like Chase. Katy, I know many people have told you this and I know you know this but whatever form your parents are in now, I know they are broken hearted for their daugthers. Everytime I saw your Dad, he just glowed when he talked about you and Chase. I saw him shortly after you all went to Parent's Day at Chase's school and he just bubbled over with the news that the two of you ran over all campus holding hands, laughing and talking. I consider your father a profound influence in my life, your mother a tremendous support in helping me churn out my first book and your sister made a heartful impression on my mentoree. I hold their character and values as models for my own life. The legacy they leave is an extraordinary one and I hope that you will be able to embrace it and hold it dear because they built that legacy for you and you are the best part of who they are. Linda Ann Smith