A Tribute to a Colleague

I received an email at 11:11 am on Monday. In the back of my mind, I knew that it may be coming at some point, and unfortunately, it arrived.

A colleague of mine who lived in Gulfport, Mississippi, who I first met over the phone in 2002, passed away over the weekend. He was 58.

Rodney Van Loon was a CPA with a big heart, who was willing to share his time, energy and thoughts with others. For that reason, Rodney’s legacy also includes the value that my firm has brought to its clients.

When I was considering entering the financial advisory business, around 2001-2002, Rodney and I talked a number of times, very extensively. He was already part of the BAM network of financial advisors, which I am now affiliated with. Through these many discussions, I too joined the BAM network, which has been a vital part of the philosophical foundation of my firm. Our investment strategy and business model is based on these early phone conversations.

Rodney was willing to share and talk to me, even though I was a complete stranger. This was a gift to me, which I don’t think he recognized or even thought twice about. I thanked him for it many times through the years. We met in person over the years, at annual conferences and then more frequently, through an intensive multi-year peer program that we both participated in, with other BAM advisors.

Rodney’s deep, strong Southern accent and graciousness were always apparent. He, his family and his firm survived Hurricane Katrina, which devastated his community. He could not survive the disease which took his life on Sunday.

My deepest condolences extend to his family, his friends and clients in Mississippi.

Rodney’s legacy will live on in many ways. The impact of his willingness to share his time with me, so graciously many years ago, will continue to benefit my clients in the future. That is the true value of giving to others.

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