Henry G. Stern, Hank, was my friend, mentor and an all around good guy. We have known each other for a dozen years, perhaps longer. Our connection was a consumer forum run by a local (Atlanta) radio personality. We quickly discovered many things in common and some areas where we were opposites.
A Bit of History
My home is in Atlanta, his in Dayton. He is Jewish, I am Christian. Our insurance careers have spanned 35+ years (mine a little longer). Both of us are "students" of the industry and share a strong desire to help others navigate the insurance maze.
He referred to me as a mensch.
I had to look it up.
That in itself is not unusual. Many of his posts included words known only to a handful of people in the world. I would often chide him for salting his blogposts with 25 cent words, Yiddish and acronyms that would confound a cryptologist. He just laughed.
I failed to appreciate the humor.
In some ways we were the odd couple, but that's OK.
He was Felix Unger to my Oscar Madison.
We only met physically once, perhaps half a dozen years ago, when Hank, Gail and Hannah (or Sara, but I think it was Hannah) traveled through Atlanta on their way back home from Florida. We met on "neutral ground", a restaurant favorite that my wife Rachel and I enjoy.
Good food. Good wine. Good company.
InsureBlog was Hank's "baby". He fancied himself as a journo and the blog was his hobby, helping him fulfill a passion for writing.
Hank invited me to join him initially as an occasional contributor and eventually promoted to co-editor.
However the pay remained the same.
Going forward, InsureBlog will change but the commitment to providing insurance related information will remain. The focus may shift away from individual and group health insurance and toward Medicare, which is my focus. It just depends on how many of the other contributors choose to stay connected.
Some weeks may only see one or two new posts. Other weeks perhaps more. And a few weeks could be barren.
My wife once asked "Does anyone other than you and Hank read that thing?". I guess we will find out.
The reading audience will decide how long this blog survives.
Hank left us unexpectedly on Thursday, September 3, 2020. He left behind Gail, his wife of 38 years, and two daughters, Hannah and Sara.
Hank adored Gail, Hannah and Sara. What better tribute than to say he loved his family? He will be missed by all.
Life has challenges but God gives us the ability to move forward, even when we stumble.
Hank has slipped the surly bonds of earth, and put out his hand to touch the face of God.
Rest in peace, Hank. Rest in peace. L'chaim.
Accept my apology if my Yiddish was used inappropriately. I learned it from the movies.