This article deals with the death of my friend, Vincent Nellans.
REMEMBERING A FRIEND By Aubrey Hammack
(Published in the Upson Home Journal March 1991)
I first met him in September of 1986. He immediately came across as a strong, warm, friendly, sensitive, caring person. He smiled easily, and was the type of person obviously gifted with the ability to put you at ease.
I had came to Thomaston, Georgia to interview for a position at the Upson Counseling Center. In about 10 minutes I knew that, whether I got the job or not, I liked him. I thought about what it was that put me at such ease, and finally realized that a person has to be at peace with himself before he can make others feel this way.
After a second interview, I was offered the job, which I accepted; so I began work. During my tenure here of almost 5 years now, I learned a lot and my boss was responsible for much of this. He was one of a couple of people who encouraged me to finish my Master’s Degree, which by itself was no small chore.
In addition, he and the late Bill Heule gave the encouragement needed to start the radio response program, Your Community. We had a cable version of this show also for a while and my boss was the cameraman for this and a very good one.
He was the inspiration for the newspaper column I’ve written for this paper for 4 years now.There are many good memories that I shall always have of him. A couple of instances really stand out for me. On one particular occasion he came into my office and said, “I want to buy your lunch today. “ I declined until I saw he was serious. Another time we arranged a fishing trip to Brown’s Lake taking his five-year-old twin daughters. This was a golden memory because of the excitement that was generated through his twins about fishing for catfish.
We became very close in the past 4 ˝ years. Yes, he was my boss but more than that I counted him as a special friend. We shared ideas and differences of opinions on many things such as politics, sports, movies, books, therapeutic techniques and life in general. We could almost always figure out together problems that we encountered with our cars. In short, I learned to love him like a brother.
He died of pancreatic cancer on March 23rd, of this year. I miss him very much and yes it will take some time to deal with the pain I feel about this loss. Vincent Nellans was a quality human being and well liked by everyone that knew him. I am fortunate to have known him. Once in a lifetime you might, if you are lucky, have the opportunity to work for a person with the qualities I have described. Though he is gone, his memory will always be with me. I wanted to tell him a couple of things when I visited him two days before his death, but didn’t get to. The first was “thank you for who you are and for allowing me to be a small part of that” and secondly, “thank you for being there on cloudy days and providing me with sunshine”. I shall never forget the reinforcement that he gave me in such a special way. This quality that he seemed to possess not with just me but with all people he made contact with, is one that I hope to endeavor to emulate
Death comes so sudden at times and the finality of it as we know it in this life is so shocking. I have a song by Don Henley entitled “In a New York Minute” that expresses my feelings about this area so well. The song states, “ In these days when darkness falls early, you better take a fools advice and take care of your own, One day they’re here and the next day they are gone.