Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Don Margotta

So, I am at the Knotty Pine ready to dig into a number 10--three scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage, hashbrowns, scali bread and black coffee. What could be wrong with the universe?

I find out.

I open up my smartphone as I wait for the dish to be plated. I read a note from the dean of the college of business.  I read that my colleague Don Margotta died suddenly on Monday.

Don Margotta is my favorite person at Northeastern.  A mensch's mench if there ever was one.  Never boastful despite being such an expert in an area of finance that he was regularly called in as an expert witness for various court cases. The guy never did anything half baked.  If he accepted an assignment you could count on it being done thoroughly.

It was about thirty years ago when we first met. He was by the racquet ball courts in the gym, had a racquet and a clipboard. He asked if I wanted to play. I said sure, and there began a friendship.  We played racquetball for a spell--I'll guess a year-- and then switched to tennis.  He knew just where and when courts would open up at MIT and we would meet to knock the balls around. He then developed some health related problem that shut down tennis and racquetball.

I am thinking it was twenty years ago that I heard he had a heart issue. I visited him in the hospital and he was cautiously optimistic. Always with the smile you see in the photo above.  Unable to play tennis or racquetball he adopted another regimen to remain fit.  He told me what he did every single morning.  That he ate a special omelette and made sure not to wake up his wife by doing something or other than I cannot recall so that his exercising would not disturb her.  He kept a book with him all the time and could tell you, to the calorie, how many he had consumed thus far in a day and how many more he could consume.  Once we went out for a beer and he took out that book and wrote down precisely the number of calories he knew that were in that beer.

We made a pledge to see each other once a semester, but neither of us made sure to make it happen.  One of the last times I saw him he told me he was having trouble walking to school. His place is about a fifteen minute walk to his office. He told me exactly where he knew he would feel pain and would have to stop and rest, before he could resume.

The news of contemporaries leaving us has come in more frequently and will only speed up as I continue to move around the track. This one hit me particularly hard.  It sounds trite, but the world has lost a true gentleman, and a positive force in the universe. 

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