Monday, December 19, 2005

rick maas

I heard the news today that my academic advisor at UNC Asheville, Rick Maas, passed away.

photo by mefford williams

Dr. Maas or "Big Rick", as a result of being my advisor, taught over 17 hours of class and labs of my major. Enough time together in small, pollution control specific courses that we could play off each other, laugh, and joke our way completely off topic. I watched, Rick might argue that I led him, as he backed the van and trailer into a fence at campus. Dr. Maas told me that he would rather jump off the cliff into Wolf Lake during our Limnology Lab before me, because "It's best not to think too much about it." My last day of school, he handed me a note and a hug, "...Your humor, joy, playfullness and overall positive energy is a tremendous gift to this world. I feel honored to have been able to share these with you...(I think that you realize how much we have in common in this regard, even though I sometimes have to act a little more serious/mature/responsible than I really am inside.)" I couldn't have described you better, Dr. Maas.
I miss you already. I just can't believe you're not around anymore. I keep expecting to walk upstairs into Rhodes Robinson, across the breezeway, look in your always open office door, to see your feet on the desk, phone to ear, free hand waving or holding a half eaten sandwich.

That's the Man, in the middle, white shirt, and smiling:

UNCA photo

1 comment:

irene said...

about the memorial service:

"it was incredible. the best memorial service i've
ever
been too. there were hundreds of people there and the floor was open
for
anybody to get up and speak and about 20 or more people took the
opportunity. i learned more about him that made me really sad that
he's
gone and i didn't know him better. they shared personal and intimate
sides
of him that one would never really experience as his student. he was a
really great man. always positive and goofing around and trying to
play
games. his accomplishments are impressive and inspiring. his wife
worshiped the ground he walked unabashadly and wrote him poems and
packed
his lunch every day. he left little love notes for her on sticky paper
around the house. someone made the point that he lived such a
fulfilling
life because he was so positive and made the most out of every day. it
was
amazing to see how many people he affected and lives he touched. he
was not
an average man. it makes me question what i want out of life and how i
can
go about achieving my goals? and how can one person spread themselves
so
thin and still have time to lead a fulfilling life with their family
and
close friends? his son spoke about how everything maas did was for other
people."