He was loved and adored by many, but was also reviled and despised by some. Everyone here has heard of him,heard the stories, formed their own opinion from the media and the rumors which were numerous, but when you knew him as a friend of your family for many,many years, you didn't look at the money, the empire, the rumors, you knew the man inside the suit. His name was Harry Frank Magnuson, better known as HFM or just Harry, and if there were such a thing as a patron saint of Wallace, he was it.
Mr. Magnsuon passed away a week ago tonight, and I grieve. He did so much for me and my family over the years, and our lives would not be as bright as they are if it were not for him.
He did so many things for so many people, but most of all, he had visions, dreams, and devotion, and his life made a difference for past and future generations.
I could go on and on about some of the things that are personal, and I will mention a few.
There was the time he offered to pay the bill for heart surgery for my father, There were the letters he wrote on behalf of my daughter when she was applying at universities. There was the tuition that he paid for me when I decided to take advance course in hotel management.There were the calls to our home, just to see if my father was doing okay, and there were times he picked up the tab for my parent's 50th wedding anniversary, and the tab for my father's 90th birthday party at the Jameson. But these things are all about money, and I remember him more for being a warm friend to me and my family.There are many more things that he did for us, but that is not why I admired him.
No, I admired him more for the man that he was, the trust that he had in those whom he knew and who worked for him. He was never too big nor was he ever to busy to acknowledge the "little guy" There were the Christmas cards, hand written every year, which I got the last one this Christmas.He never forgot, even after I had moved to Seattle, It came like clock work every December. he wrote many letters of support for me when I would apply to various hotels , and he always remember to ask me about my kids. " How is that little girl of yours, or how is that son?"
And of course, there is the saving of Wallace. Wallace will never be the same, and part of Wallace died this past week. I guess the thing that has been bothering me the most is that when I compare my life to his, what have I ever done? What will me legacy be to the world?
Rest in peace, HFM, you will always live in my heart, and you will never be forgotten.