Yesterday we got word that a former classmate of mine had died suddenly, just shy of his 39th birthday, we think from some catastrophic cerebral event. We await more details, but we already know enough to feel as if there is less joy in the world today, less light and laughter, less beauty. "Former classmate"...that phrase is so very hollow, but there are not words adequate to describe Bernd to you. Of all the people I have met in this life, all the characters over my five decades, few if any have LIVED the way Bernd did. I was a Ph.D. candidate by the time he entered the Master's program, so I technically never had classes with him, but he was not one to be missed or go unnoticed around the department. A tall, beautiful man from Hamburg, Germany, his voice and accent were distinct, as was the enthusiasm with which he greeted each new day. Apart from being highly intelligent, he was a great athlete, bordering on world class in the days of his youth. He still ran marathons, and he was an avid cyclist who thought nothing of taking a forty mile round trip to deliver a gift to a hospitalized friend. He loved beer, of course, and had a great fondness for taking over karaoke night at his favorite bar. I was on the periphery of his circle of friends, but that didn't matter. He knew me, I knew him, and we had the occasional intense conversation, usually involving him challenging me to be healthier, more active, to take better care of myself, to LIVE. In ancient times, he perhaps would have been seen as the scion of a god, a kind, fun-loving giant among men. Close friends of mine loved him, and he loved them, and that told me all I needed to know about him. I spent much of yesterday exchanging emails, etc., with those friends as we absorbed the news that this gentle German giant had passed. We grieve along with his dear wife, Kiki, his family, and his many friends scattered across at least two continents. Geh mit Gott und in Frieden ruhen, Bernd.