Tuesday, November 27, 2012


A week ago I attended a memorial service for Dennis Delap, a Northampton realtor who passed away unexpectedly in October. Though his life had touched my own only briefly, in 2005, through the sale of my home, his caring and kindness were the qualities that made a stressful process go smoothly, and end well. As his friends, family, and colleagues came to the podium to talk about his life, I began to get a picture of the man that Dennis was – and the very many ways that his generous and intelligent spirit will live on in the people he inspired.


Dennis was accomplished in many areas: he studied philosophy on a Fulbright Scholarship at the university in Heidelberg,Germany; he went on to pursue a doctorate at M.I.T. and UMass; and he was an accomplished oil painter, as well as a musician. He traveled extensively, was active politically and socially, and cared about the environment, particularly about land conservation. But the gratitude and love that were expressed by the people in Dennis’ life, both personal and professional, paint a picture of a man who truly cared about others, and strived to make the world a better place. His brother-in-law offered the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson to illuminate Dennis' life --


   To laugh often and much;

   To win the respect of intelligent people
   and the affection of children;

   To earn the appreciation of honest critics
   and endure the betrayal of false friends;

   To appreciate beauty;
   To find the best in others;

   To leave the world a bit better, whether by
   a healthy child, a garden patch,
   or a redeemed social condition;

   To know even one life has breathed
   easier because you have lived;

   This is to have succeeded.

As we head into another holiday season, and the stress and the excitement of upcoming festivities begin to fill the days, it’s good to take a moment to reflect upon a life well-lived. As I look out into the trees, from my office window in the house that I moved to seven years ago – a house that is “just right” for my life right now -- I have to give thanks to Dennis for his guidance, support, and genuine good cheer.  You will not be forgotten...