Saturday, March 29, 2008

One of My Mentors

Two days ago, the world lost a really great man - one of my mentors, Mr. Mel Larimer. Mel was the director of the Albion College Choirs for 20 years. He was my music education teacher, as well as conducting instructor. Beyond that he was a friend who loved Jesus. At the time I knew him, that didn't mean too much to me. But now, in retrospect, I realize how much his relationship with Christ permeated everything he did. Don't get me wrong, Mr. Larimer had his moments where patience was lacking and things weren't getting done. But, now I can see how his humility always came out and if apologies were needed, they came.

One the biggest things that Mel did for me was getting me my first job out of college. Which led to me meeting my future wife, which led to me meeting Jesus, which led to me getting into ministry, and so on. So I have a lot of gratitude for the life of Mel Larimer. He was well loved and he loved well. My hope is that this phrase can be said of me some day. He will be missed.

More of his story here


Don said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Don said...

Hmmmm.. thanks for this. Brings back some great memories of some of the influential people in my life. And how I should send them a note of thanks, now.

Thanks for being a great mentor yourself.


Brad said...

Hi Dan. You're right, Mr. Larimer certainly did play a huge part in your getting your first job. I was looking for just the right candidate, and I called him for advice. Once Mel told me about you, you had the inside track. But it was your skills and attitudes and vision that caused me to hire you. You delivered a fine program, and as the principal, I was proud of your work and of the kids at our high school who were under your direction.

Mel was my mentor too. I first sang under him in the 7th grade in the Michigan Junior High Honors Choir at Cobo Hall - in 1968. He recruited me to the music program at Olivet College, he and Mrs. Larimer were always available there, and during summers at Interlochen. We always managed tp stay in touch. Remember when we hosted the Albion choir on tour? When Mel stayed at my house (instead of the other way around, for once), it made me proud to be hosting him, for once!

I had the privilege of saying goodby to Mel 5 days before he died. He still had that sense of humor, and the last thing he said to me was "I love you too."

With Mel as a mentor, you quickly learned to "pay it forward". Indirectly, that brought you to your first teaching job (where you did a really fine job, by the way). And it prepared you, as it did me, to spend a lifetime in service to young people. They will pay it forward too. For all that, "Thanks, Mel..."

Great to hear about you. By the way, my hair is turning white. What happened to yours?