3rd May 2004
From Dan Peña – Executive Coach and Mentor to the High Performer.
Dear High Performance Person and Visionary,
It is with much regret that I announce the passing of my mentor Jerry Ormand. He was one of a kind! He was of a generation gone by. I am extremely grateful for his guidance and the friendship he gave me for more than 25 years. He and his late wife were like second parents to me. I often said, sitting in his lovely home on the ninth hole of Bel Air Country Club, Bel Air, California, "When I grow up I want to be just like you!" In later years he would say, whilst in my Californian home and at Guthrie Castle, "When I grow up I want to be just like you!" He was always positive and supportive and I have talked about him on many occasions. When I first started my QLA Seminars he attended almost everyone. The first year there were about 30 of them all over the USA. I often thought he came in the beginning because he thought no-one would come and he didn’t want me to be alone to face an empty room. As he used to tell audiences during breaks he got to live life twice through me!
The last time we had lunch in Houston, Texas, he reminded me of many of the fun and tough times we shared. He down played the tough times and focused on the great times. That’s the kind of man he was. I never heard him raise his voice or use a swear word, he didn’t drink or smoke and was deeply religious. He always got up when a lady left or entered the room, or got up from the table, or came to sit. He always held the door open for a woman, or the elderly. His business and personal ethics were perfect. I rarely saw him without at least a coat, unless we were playing golf.
I will always remember some 20 years ago flying in a "Gulf Stream" to Dallas. This is a proper jet where you can stand up and walk around. It was my partners plane. All Jerry wanted to know – "Is it paid for?" Jerry didn’t believe in lease payments. I said, "Yes!" Later that day whilst shooting pool in my partner’s 25,000sq ft "guest house," I commented, "This is also paid for along with their own private country club which surrounded this compound." He retorted back, as he often did, "They must have quite a bit of production" (pronounced "puurrductionn!") – meaning barrels a day of oil.
I will miss him a lot, not that I saw him that often in recent years – I always knew I could call him. And as one of my senior mentees told me a couple of weeks ago, "Sometimes that’s all I need! – To know I can call you 24/7!"
My dear friend, Jerry Ormand leaves me, his wonderful family and the whole world a much richer and decent place than before he came to us in 1919. He was born in Electra, Texas and he landed on the beaches of Normandy in June 1944. He rose to lofty heights in finance and commerce in the US, UK and Middle East. As you have seen me write, I often check myself by asking what I would write on my own tombstone. For Jerry Ormand it could say: "A gentleman, world class Dad, Grandfather, and friend to all!"
Goodbye old friend! You left the world a much better place than you found it!! What more can anyone ask?
P.S. I will write very soon about an idea his passing gave me. He would love it. He used to say, "Every thunder cloud and heartache has a silver lining – only if we think about it and look hard enough."