Bill Harmon Tribute


William J. Harmon Tribute
December 14, 1957 – January 8, 2005

It is a sad fact that, all too often in life, we never fully appreciate the true value of any human relationship until it is abruptly taken from us and this is certainly true in the case of Bill Harmon. Words cannot express the sorrow felt by family, friends and colleagues over the untimely home going of Bill which came as a shock to all who knew him.

Bill had a lifelong passion for the game of golf and its traditions. He became a keen and competent golfer playing many of the major courses in the Midwest. On the golf course Bill had an engaging sense of humor and some delightful idiosyncrasies keeping many of his golfing buddies in stitches. Bill mentioned often that he enjoyed the game of golf so much because it is so similar to the game of life, with its many obstacles, struggles, victories, conflicts, and… blessings. His favored line was that if you’re not modest about your abilities when you start playing the game, it won’t take long for you to assume a role of humility…that’s the nature of the game.

You may ask yourself so what are some of the specific comparisons between golf and life? According to Bill, in golf there is always the issue of the proper stance, whether the open stance, the straight stance, or the knock-kneed stance. And the stance dictates everything. In life, too, we always assume some kind of stance…a stand for what we believe, for how we’ll live our life, and for what kind of legacy we’ll want to leave behind.

Golf is much more than a game. It has been called the sport that reveals the insides of people. It demands concentration and commitment, practice and humility. It’s the ultimate analogy for our spiritual life. Bill embodied all these skills, in life as well as on the golf course. He constantly gave his partners and buddies inside tips and pointers on his favorite game and on getting to know God more intimately.

Bill’s faith efforts not always “rattled the pin”, but he knew that’s the ideal, and proceeded accordingly. Fortunately, where our own skill is inadequate, God’s grace takes control and gives us the Master’s accuracy. On that we can depend, so long as we’re trying to hit the target.

In life issues Bill knew that attaining success was no guarantee of obtaining significance. He was not impressed with any arguments that we are free to ignore the deepest hungers of our hearts simply because we happen to be earning a living at the time. A life of significance is not built on accomplishments and completed tasks, but rather, in developing deep relationships with the people God places within our sphere of influence. In every encounter with a family member, colleague, friend, client or golfing buddy, he knew that he was leaving a little bit of himself behind. He was living his legacy.

Concealed beneath that mane of distinguished onset of gray hair was a child’s imagination, ever so playful and delight in the simple things of life. At times, he was downright full of mischief. Bill refused to live hurriedly under the weight of constant deadlines and pressures. He lived his life by the compass, not the clock. He knew that an abundant life, the life God planned for him, would not be a function of a great span of years. And, in that clarity of vision, he found an uncommon capacity to experience joy.

Moreover, his life was rich in love. Bill loved his daughters, Jenna, Jamie, Julianna and wife, Mary, more than anything in this world. He was an intensely private man about most personal things, but when it came to them, he was a babbling brook. Bill’s attraction to his job bears witness to his caring nature. For him, selling was a craft – something to be done with great care and precision.

He viewed it as a calling, not a way to earn a living. He valued his clients dearly. Every one of them was uniquely deserving of the very best he had to offer; every engagement was a chance to serve. What beckoned him to sales was a fundamental desire to help people solve their problems and, in the process, to heal the lives of individuals, to enable communities to function harmoniously and productively and, ultimately, to bring about reconciliation.

In addition to the gifts of joy and love, Bill was blessed with the capacity to lead others. In virtually every endeavor to which he committed, Bill became a leader. He understood that we lead by our attitudes, by our responses to adversity, by the words we speak and the example we set. A leader is someone whom others want to follow. A good leader is someone who is worth following. He was smart and dedicated, and these traits were the ones that brought him to the attention to others. What made him their leader was his integrity. Indeed, it was more than his integrity; it was his fidelity. Bill was faithful to the truth and the commitments he had made.

Finally, Bill’s commitment to excellence was divinely inspired. Excellence, not in the sense of doing the best that has ever been done, but in doing it to the best that he was able. He was passionate about serving his church, he was passionate about the firm he represented and the clients he served. Most of all he was passionate about his relationships. He was a business man whose real business was people. Bill also had the gift of using his time naturally for projects having some permanence and for causes of enduring value. Indeed, one common characteristic of all the beneficiaries of his excellence is that they were always devoted to creating something of lasting value that would enrich the lives of others.

In the end, we are here not because Bill was successful, but because he was significant to us. His life has touched us in profound and lasting ways, some of which we have yet to fully comprehend. Part of God’s destiny for Bill was to bring all of us together to share in the blessing of his life and the light he had to give. Bill knew that when God takes the measure of a man, he does not gauge the girth of his wallet or length of his resume. God stretches the tape around his heart. We remember and celebrate not what Bill accomplished, but who he was. Over those many years, Bill shared many triumphs and disappointments, laughter and tears. We grew to respect and admire Bill greatly. Mostly, we grew to love him. Thank you God for the gift of his life; it is a treasure we will hold dear to us.

Farewell Bill, Hit’m well. We’ll see you at the first tee in Heaven.
“Blessed is the man whose bogeys the Lord does not count against him”

Marsh Ridge MI August 1994

Kirk, Bill, Rolf, Bill at Marsh Ridge MI, August 1994.

On behalf of Fox Valley Links Fellowships
Rolf D.J. Ronstadt, Area & Follow-Up Coordinator

Encourage and Equip Men and Women using Golf as a vehicle of Communication
to draw people together to share the transforming love of Jesus Christ

Fox Valley Links Fellowships  Post Office Box 545 Saint Charles, Illinois 60174-0545 USA


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