Knoxville — I was deeply saddened this week when I heard that my friend, Kevin Daugherty, passed away.
To me, Kevin always stood for what is best about Knoxville. He always had a friendly smile and a warm hello, whenever I went into Radio Shack or when I just passed him on the street.
In all honesty, I didn't know him very well beyond these encounters. I don't think it was necessary for anyone to constantly hang out with him to realize that he was someone very special.
I looked up to him, as someone who had his share of medical setbacks, but refused to let them keep him down. He never complained about anything. The closest he got to complaining, to me, were those times we talked about ways that we could make Knoxville an even better place.
Though he never complained, he was always willing to listen and offer support. It seemed to be his personality, to offer any assistance he could to a friend or a customer. I am convinced that he viewed everyone he encountered as a friend.
Kevin had my respect and my friendship for these attitudes. Frankly, if I had been faced with some of the medical setbacks that he had, I'd be a pretty unpleasant person. Kevin was just the opposite, going with the flow and enjoying life every day, as his father-in-law Carl Schwanebeck had always told me to do.
This is a man (Kevin) who, when he met my mother while the two of them were having dialysis treatments at the same time, told her what a great guy I was. When my mom was telling me about their encounter, I could see him and hear him, in his usual, upbeat voice, saying these things.
I never know what to say when I receive praise, especially when it is undeserved. That's not even taking into account the praise was from someone who had every right to feel upset and miserable.
One of the last times I saw Kevin, at Hometown Meats, he said in his usual, jovial tone, how glad he was to meet my mom and tell me what a terrific lady she is. It made me smile.
I don't think I show my mother enough appreciation sometimes. When I fail to appreciate her in the future (and, unfortunately, I will), I'll think back to that moment and how someone as special as Kevin, who barely knew my mother, was able to find that tree in the forest that is her personality, that makes her exemplary.
What I hope to take away from my friendship with Kevin, and something I think we can all learn from him, is that happiness can always be found. I once wrote a “Friendly Faces” article about him and I can remember that spending time with his family, even if it was just watching TV together, always filled him with joy. I don't think there's anything stopping any of us from just enjoying the simple things like spending time with those we love.
Take care of yourself and thank you for reading.