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  • 40 Years of Friendship and Caring:Dan, You Will Be Missed
  • Roy Kern

September 9, 2013, was one of the saddest days of my life. After 40 years of friendship, I lost a dear colleague and companion. Dan Eckstein was a friend of many talents. He was an educator; master therapist; author of 21 books and countless professional articles; column editor for The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families; reviewer for the Journal of Individual Psychology; diplomate, past president, and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for the North American Society of Adlerian Psychology; Florida International Adlerian Society Social Interest [End Page 88] Award recipient; and faculty member for the Adlerian School in Toronto—as well as holding appointments at five other universities in North America and internationally. His proudest achievement, I believe, was playing professional football for two years. His gusto for life, however, outshined that accomplishment. Life for him included food, football, beer, and being a good friend to me and to many others. He truly embodied social interest by dedicating tireless hours to students and by volunteering his services at Saba University for those who could not afford counseling, as well as to anyone who needed a helping hand.

I was blessed to have spent considerable time with him at the 2013 NASAP conference in San Diego, as well as weekly Skype sessions with him during the summer prior to his abrupt departure. Some of my most recent memories include spending a full day touring the beautiful city of San Diego and visiting the ocean shore there with Dan, Frank Walton, and Kathy Walton.

Sometimes we do and say things that, in retrospect, take on much more meaning after the death of a loved one. Two such comments seem to me to have great meaning. The first is when I said no to Dan’s request to invite other persons on the tour with him; I told him I really wanted to spend time with him and my other two friends. In hindsight I guess this could be viewed as a bit self-serving on my part. The second comment came from Dan, and it now seems to foreshadow his future tragedy. While we were dining at a beautiful restaurant in downtown San Diego, Dan said, “This day and dinner is really special for me because this might be the last time the four of us, with such a long history together as friends, may have together.” How profound that comment came to be.

I conclude with a quote from John Lennon that captures what I think was Dan’s goal in life—for himself and all of us: “When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment; I told them they didn’t understand life.” That is all Dan really wanted in life: to be at peace with his somewhat frenetic world. [End Page 89]



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