Semper Fi, Jack

Updated Apr 29, 2015

Below are Bill’s thoughts on the passing of his friend and aftermarket veteran Jack Creamer.

Ronald Reagan once said, “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. Marines don’t have that problem.”

The Great Man theory is a 19th-century idea according to which history can be largely explained by the impact of “great men,” or heroes: highly influential individuals who, due to either their personal charisma, intelligence or wisdom, utilized their spirit in a way that had a decisive impact.

That is Jack. That is our market. How many things (and how many of us) thrive because of his guidance?

I seemed to realize it instantly … 45 years ago.

The words he speaks are right; he actually has seen it all before. Bitten the apple and tasted the rotten core, and told me not to take a bite. (Except I’m greedy and always wanted more.)

Take a look at those hands — those scars were earned from ‘friend’ and foe — sometimes the very same person.

Look at those mischievous eyes. They have seen the ‘Winged Foot” clear skies, and the roiling dark-colored cold front of some now forgotten aftermarket brouhaha.

Just when some thought he’s old and out of touch, I discovered that it was just his Wise Man disguise.

He couldn’t see the future, really. No need when you’ve lived his past.

He made me fully aware that success is due in large measure to the loyalty, helpfulness, and encouragement we receive from others. He has inspired (probably demanded) me to pass on similar gifts.

Both abundance and hunger exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities.

Jack would remind to make a conscious choice (which secret garden we will tend?), especially choosing not to focus on what is missing from our lives, but to be grateful for the abundance that’s present (love, health, family, friends, work).

Jack insisted the wasteland of illusion fall away unmourned.

His lasting truth to me, “You’re too old to be driven by a fear of fools!”

If you are intelligent, you are admired. If you are wealthy, you are envied. If you are powerful, you are feared. But if you’re blessed with a good heart, you are remembered, always. For the legacy in life of those people you’ve touched.

“…The goal of humanity lies in its highest specimens. Death is only a launching into the region of the strange Untried; it is but the first salutation to the possibilities of the immense Remote, the Wild, the Watery, the Unshored” ~ Herman Melville

My memories of his twinkle, his knowing squint, seem to ricochet off the inside of my protective wall until I’m holding my breath just to avoid the feeling of another parental loss.

We will miss him in the moments our brains try to make our hearts forget.

I wonder if he remembered my curiosities the same way I remember every colored reflection in his thoughtful eyes.

He and my dad will always be part of the breath I could never seem to catch, and even when I think I’ve solved ‘it’ and try to move on, those two whisper there in the back of my mind, reminding me that I haven’t really inhaled fresh air in years.

A true man will listen to anyone, no matter how young or old the person. For everyone has a story to tell and a lesson to teach.

Jack knew.

As I remember Jack Creamer, my wise guide, I think of this poem.

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
and whisper to their souls to go,
whilst some of their sad friends do say,
“Now his breath goes,” and some say, “No.”

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, or sigh-tempests move;
‘Twere profanation of our joys
to tell the laity our love.

Moving of th’ earth brings harms and fears;
Men reckon what it did, and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

~ John Donne “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”

Bill Wade is a partner at Wade & Partners and a heavy-duty aftermarket veteran. He is the author of Aftermarket Innovations. He can be reached at

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