walters family blog

Well, its just Walters' family stuff. That's about it, for that's its sole purpose.

Location: Bellville, Texas, United States

Husband, dad, grandfather, brother, entrepreneur, artist, writer, publisher, ad guy, teacher, musician, and dreaming of being a farmer.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ode to Dan Thurman

I'm not sure quite how to approach this little message to my good friend, Dan Thurman. But, I heard today that I lost him. Although we hadn't spoken directly in quite some time, four years to be exact, I had received a couple update e mails from him, and the last asking that we wait on lunch until he got his "act together" on his health. Well, Dan Thurman, my friend, passed from this life last Saturday at 77 years old, with his wonderful, loving wife Sharon by his side. I found out about it today, and it has dampened my day in one way, but brought back incredibly great memories, and some funny things to my mind about Dan. Here are a couple things I want you to know about Dan...

I met Dan in 1983 at Texas Commerce Bank, Inwood, over off of Hwy 290. He was the President of the bank and I went in as a "walk-in" to see what it would take to get a loan to buy a $500,000 press. I had no collateral, but I had a dream, and a customer at Safeway, my old boss Reed Campbell (who just passed away two weeks ago). Dan loved my story, and told me, "by golly, if I could do it, I'd loan you the money today, but I need some collateral... you don't have anything you can put up?" I said I didn't, and was just getting started, and I'd pay it back... of course. Dan said, "Do you have any family with anything?" I said, "not that would help this situation". Then he said, "what about a friend?...I just need something to paper my files in case I ever get audited." I called my other friend and CPA, Randy Casey and asked if he had any collateral? He offered to put up his CPA practice if they'd accept it in return for some equity in the company. Of course I asked Dan if he'd accept it, and he did. He later told me that if we'd have gone bad on that loan there was no way he could have done anything with that collateral:-) That was Dan. He loaned me $250k with collateral, and $250k on my signature. You have to remember that I had nothing. I was just starting. No one that I asked, and I asked a lot of folks that I knew, and none would loan me a penny. We paid the loan off in short order. We were off and running, thanks to Dan. After that, Dan loaned me money on several real estate deals at several banks where he worked. He financed cars, trucks, and a lot of plant equipment over the years. He trusted me. All I had to do was call him and he'd say, I'll have the papers ready tomorrow. Want me to come there or will you be here?

We became fast friends and it wasn't but a few years later that Dan called and said, "Man o Man o Man, I've got to get away from this banking stuff... Do you have anything?" I said, "yes, I do, but it's in Shreveport Louisiana." After I gave Dan a brief explanation of RetailMail in Shreveport, he said, "Sign me up!". We met for lunch and the rest is history.

One of the funniest stories that Dan ever told was the time he got caught by a neighbor eating a drumstick, or a fudgecicle out in Kingwood, and when he got home, she had called Sharon and told on him, and he got in trouble:-) He would tell that story (I may not have it 100% correct, but it's close), and laugh out loud.

Dan was my anchor at adplex through a lot of very tough years. No matter how turbulent, I would know that Dan would be in my door to say, "you okay? Ahhh, we'll make it. You gotta go sell something and it'll be alright...":-) 

Still today I cherish a large block of engraved metal on my desk today that was a gift from Dan.  He walked in my office in his awkward way when he was trying to do something nice for you, and said, "here... I found this and wanted you to have it. It's nothing really..." It weighed about two pounds, and the engraving said,

"What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?"

He then turned and walked to the door. I said "thanks Dan... I love it". He said, "It's kind of the way you already live, and he laughed."

I know I speak for a ton of folks at adplex and a lot who are no longer there who feel like Dan was one of our "best friends!" Dan, we miss you already. You have left an indelible mark on our lives that we'll ever forget. Thanks for trusting me, and being my friend. I was going to tell Dan this at the lunch we never got to have. And I'm so sorry I didn't press him to meet.

Dan worked at Adplex until he just couldn't make the drive anymore.

He was one more fine man and a special guy in my life... that I'll miss not getting to say...

"goodbye friend, you will be sorely missed!"