On Friday, November 30, 2001 my father died. He was born on February 19, 1921, which meant that, at the end of his life, he was over 80 years old a good long life but still, somehow, not long enough.
You probably think that you have never met my father, but in a way, you have. If you have read any of my books, you will know that I have a good sense of humor and that I like to make people laugh. You will also know that, through my work, I have devoted myself to helping people in the best way that I know how.
These are gifts that I inherited from my father, Murray Hahn.
As far back as I can remember, my father always had a new joke to tell me each time I talked to him. He enjoyed hearing jokes and passing them on to others. My father, in turn, inherited his sense of humor from his father, Irving Hahn, so I guess you could say the desire to make people laugh runs in our family.
In his professional life, my father was an accountant who specialized in bankruptcy and insolvency. (In Canada, where he lived and where I grew up, such services are provided by accountants.) He was an innovator in his field, and I grew up watching him assist many, many people. My father saw his job as being more than just an businessman. He taught me that the role of the insolvency practitioner was to give the honest debtor a second chance, a task which he carried out for many years.
In February, 1997, his professional contributions were honored, when he was made a life member of the Canadian Insolvency Practitioners Association.
My father often told me that his goal was to "drive the ambulance and not the hearse" and, as such, he devoted much of his time to counseling people who were down on their luck. He helped his clients reorganize their obligations and budget their money, making it possible for them to maintain their dignity and their ability to earn a living.
When my father talked to me about his work, he would tell me that he considered himself to be as much a social worker as an accountant. Over the years, as I watched him help so many clients and their families, I realized just how important his job was what he did made a difference.
In later years, as my father aged, I realized he had another, more enduring characteristic. Murray Hahn knew how to make people like him. To the people in the retirement home in which he spent his last few years, my father was one of the family. They cared for him and, up to the very last week of his life, they enjoyed his uniqueness and his desire to enjoy his life.
As surely as your father and your mother are part of you, my father was a part of me.
When you read one of my books, take a moment to notice the humor and to appreciate just how much I care about the people I help. As you do, please realize that although you may have never met him you do know my father, Murray Hahn.
concept, coding: Harley Hahn site design: Brandi Valenza