There is sadness in the Stephens Family at the Passing of Robin Williams

Our son Tony and I played tennis late today after the sun set and the temps fell below 90. When we were done Tony checked his iPhone and we were taken back when he read that Robin Williams had died.

I was particularly sad because in my mind – my perception – therefore my reality – Robin Williams left this life without having personally accepted Christ as the One who died for our sins. As I sit here and type this note I truly, truly hope that my perception is wrong – that the Amazing Grace of God reached out and called one of His most talented yet troubled creations home.

Marty, Tony and I spent ten days in Hawaii in 1987 at the Kapalua Bay Club on the Big Island. It was perhaps the finest family vacation we ever took. It had been a great year for our firm and we went all out on an Ocean View Home which also bordered the golf course. Tony brought his Football and Wrestling friend George and as the two biggest kids on the block they made some interesting friends – one being Billy Crystal’s daughter – a young adventuresome teenager about his age – apparently in need of a friend and super sized body guard or two for the week.

Each morning I was up at 5:00am local time – 10:00am in Chicago – waiting on the first tee for the sun to rise just enough for us to see our tee shots rise into the golden light of a Big Island Dawn. While I was golfing Marty relaxed and later in the day we would take our rental jeep into places we hope Hertz never finds out about and had some great fun snorkeling in Horseshoe Bay.

It seems that no matter how much money you spend for accommodations and privacy there is always a “pool side buffet” where the rich and famous stand in line with the folks from Chicago. It was there that I met Billy Crystal, Gary Shandling (The Larry Sanders Show) and Robin Williams – standing in line waiting for waffles and eggs. Being the shy retiring type I introduced myself and began to banter with the real professionals. Billy, Gary and Robin were all extremely approachable and friendly. However, Robin was “on stage” even as he waited for brunch. He entertained us all with incredibly spontaneous humor and turned what could have been a long twenty minute wait into our personal Robin Williams Comedy 1/3 Hour.

Like strangers in the night we passed and nodded now and then and they asked for our permission for Tony to join them for the New Year’s Eve Party at The Club. Since I’d been up since before sunrise and Saint Marty was stuck with me for better or worse we had our NYE celebration around seven and were sound asleep by nine.

Maybe it was just being in the warm sunny breezes of Hawaii in December but somehow or another in our minds we “connected” with Billy, Gary and Robin and they made us feel like we really knew them.

For those of you who know us well you will remember that upon arriving home in Chicago we found our “home” totally burned to the ground. That is the subject of another day but even in the midst of that challenge we still enjoyed the memory of that time in both the short and long term.

Tonight we are saddened in our spirits that one of the great comedic genius’s of out time took his life so young. We pray for his soul and his family without judgement and with very, very fond memories.


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