My Best Influences ...

My Best Influences ...


When seeing Dennis Burgess' AR Contest announcement about the "Under The Influence(s)- an ActiveRain Contest", I knew it was one I needed to take part in.  Can you ever say "thank you" enough to those that shaped your life?

I'm going to begin exactly where I should ...  with my Mom and Dad.  

Although a unit in every way, I'm going to list them as individual influences.  Each taught me many special and unique things.

#1:  I'm lucky enough to still have my Mom, Ruth, with me and living close by in Manhattan.  I'm still learning from her.  She's the epitome of kindness, grace, generosity, and gentility.  

She seeks the positive in everyone and every situation.  Mom never says an unkind word about anyone.  Not an easy thing to carry off in today's world and I admire her greatly for it.

#2:  My Dad, Ken, passed a while ago, but he's my "bar" test for every action I take.  I can't tell you the number of people that have told me Dad was their vision of a true gentleman ... just a great guy.  I try to act similarly so people will say the same about me to my kids when the time comes.  I'm a work in progress.

#3:  Collectively, I must acknowledge my brothers ... Gordy, Gregg, and Gerry for being a good influence on me.  I was #3 out of the four of us and I gained tremendously from watching my brothers.  

Each made me tougher.  They made me stronger.  They made me more resilient.  They pushed me.  They set expectations.  They demanded better.  They truly made me better.  Mentally, academically, and physically.  They set high standards for me as a kid.  They still do as adults.

My #4 influence would be my first boss in the Mortgage industry, Don Nepote.  His offering me my first job at the Savings and Loan in New Lenox truly changed my world.  At the time, I had no real grasp of what I wanted as a career.  I was moving towards journalism at the time, but then ... along came Mr. Nepote's offer. 

I took a gamble and accepted his offer thinking I'd just earn some money to pay off school expenses, gain some work experience, quit and move on.  Well, that was in 1977 and I'm still in the Mortgage business.  I guess you could say the Mortgage and Real Estate "bug bit" me. 

Because of Mr. Nepote's offer and my subsequent decision to work in the S&L, I found a career.  I found a passion.  2 actually.  I also found my wife.  She was Mr. Nepote's secretary at the time.  I'd say my gamble paid-off extremely well for me.  

My 5th and final good influence was a mentor of mine.  I believe one of my strengths as a Mortgage Lender comes from my wide and diverse background learned within the industry.  I've written about my background prior, but one of the things I studied and performed was Real Estate Appraising.  

Years ago, it was pretty normal for LO's to also do appraising.  For awhile, my focus was more in that vein. But when "drive-by" appraisals were first introduced and rumors were that they would grow in use, I decided it was time to re-focus on my Mortgage Lending services.  That's when I was lucky enough to be taken under Mortgage Lender Tim Klotz' wing.

Tim Klotz was one-of-a-kind.  Smart, successful, hard-working, energetic, a people-person, outgoing, upbeat, eager to help and share what he knew, athletic, always smiling and laughing.  Just a great attitude and the kind of mentor and friend you pray for.  

Tim was always ready for everything and anything, whether that be work or play.  There were signs of that in his car.  Certainly the normal "tools" of a Mortgage Lender were visible, but pop his trunk and his golf clubs, tennis racket, and play clothes were always available too.  And maybe a cigar or two.

The term athletic should come to mind when you envision Tim Klotz.  As I said, he was a prolific golfer and tennis player, but he ran too.  He appeared the picture of health.

But a few days after his 50th birthday, Tim passed away from a massive heart attack.  He'd been feeling a little "off", but had chalked it up to the stresses of his job and how busy he was at the time.  

To say that his family, co-workers, and friends were stunned would be an understatement.  His death was a total shock.  You could see the grief, fear, and shock in everyone's face,  including mine.  It was a huge loss. after Tim's death, his friends and family decided his spirit had to live on.  We gathered and formed the first "Tim Klotz Memorial Golf Outing" ... an outing where proceeds and monies collected would be donated to local Joliet charities.  

This year, we are hosting the 15th Annual Tim Klotz Memorial Golf Outing.  Thousands and thousands of dollars have been raised/donated over the years through this effort.  Many in need have benefited from the donations received from this charity.

That is certainly testimony to the man Tim was ... and the influence he had on those around him.  I know I personally benefited in all sorts of ways from Tim, his friendship, and his time mentoring me.  I think of Tim and smile.

As far as talking of negative influences, I'd rather end this post on a positive note.  Although it's true you can learn from the negatives, I think there's more than enough negative that's said and shared.  I'll take a pass on adding to that ...


     *  Hoping to Buy, Construct, or Refinance a home in New Lenox, another Lincoln-Way Community, Will County, or elsewhere in the Chicagoland area? Contact Me!  I'll put my 37 years of Mortgage experience and expertise hard to work on your behalf.

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