Bill Mashaw passed away in Washington state June 7. He was one of the first people I met after moving to Durango in 1994. With ease, he quickly became a role model, a confidant, a friend.
I always thought of Bill as my surrogate grandfather since my grandfathers no longer are living. I suspect I am not alone in seeing Bill in this light.
After moving here, Bill took no time in becoming a professional volunteer. It would be a struggle to adequately chronicle Bill's contributions while he lived his "retirement" years here in Durango. He was a master fundraiser, making this chore seem simple. He brought Big Brothers/Big Sisters to our region. He cared passionately about affordable housing and worked on this tough challenge from every angle he could think of.
I cannot count the number of times I heard him say in meetings about kids' issues, health care or housing: "We have to do this! It's good for the kids!" He worked on several political causes and always promoted an ethic of bipartisanship, respect and compromise.
I have this endearing memory of Bill in his worn, but hearty, blue SUV. He usually got to meetings early and would sit in his car reading The Denver Post or the latest book. I remember one time he was reading The World is Flat. I made a mental note that I, too, should read the book, if Bill was.
Bill gave service out of a core belief that when we lift up everyone in our community - every single person - the entire community is better for it. Thank goodness he set the bar so high.
Godspeed, Bill. We will never forget you.
Marsha Porter-Norton, Durango