My phone lit up like a Christmas tree today when the news came out that Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, had finally lost his battle with cancer.
Celebrities and well-known figures pass all the time. After John McCain’s recent passing, we experienced a huge national send-off, with praise coming from both sides of the aisle. We were reminded about what a great man he was. Paul was equally great, but in different ways and his departure has hit home with me for a lot of reasons.
I’ll rattle off a few–he helped co-create Microsoft, which is a part of my every day life. He was a Northwest guy who did things to make his home town a better place. He developed the South Lake Union area of Seattle with more on the way. He was the owner of the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trailblazers. His love of music and pop culture resulted in “the Blob” at the Seattle Center, formerly the Music Experience Project, now a museum known as MoPop. The resident radio station, KEXP, is the frequency he bought from the University of Washington after I graduated from there. Back in my day, it was 90.5-KCMU, which is where I first began my decades-long love affair with radio.
I knew someone that played in his rock band. This friend would get a phone call and it would be Paul, asking, “You wanna fly down to Portland tonight and catch the Blazers game?” We heard about his yacht, his toys, his companies, his passions. But on top of it all, he loved his music.
Paul Allen’s passing hits me particularly hard because he’s just two years older than yours truly. That’s just too young. It seems like a lot of the conversations I’m having lately with my friends and family have to do with retirement. How do you know when to pull the trigger? What’s the smartest thing to do to be prepared for it? Do you wait and work longer or call it quits at 65 and enjoy whatever you have left of this life?
We had heard about Paul Allen’s battle with cancer before. It went into remission and then, it returned. When you think about it, if there was anyone who would be able to have access to the latest science and technology at any price, it would have been him. He was recently ranked as the 46th richest person in the world, with a worth of $20.3-billion.
I never met Paul Allen. From friends who did know him, he was a very private person. He did what he had to publicly, but preferred privately living his life. The time we are allotted on this rock is all we get and, as I’ve said before, 65 years just doesn’t seem long enough.
But if that’s all he was going to be given, he really made his time count. If there’s one thing I have to express my appreciation for is bringing a Super Bowl winning team to this town.
Mr. Allen, you will be remembered. Thank you for all you did for your home town and the Pacific Northwest.