The Death of a Friend

Earlier tonight, I heard that a good and close friend, a fellow legislator, has died this afternoon. I know I'm not alone in the feeling that his death was unfair because it was so untimely; he was young and strong and vibrant, funny and kind, and part of my mind doesn't yet accept that this is real.

George Groesbeck was a legislator from Butte, a father, a friend, a well-loved and dedicated man. For those of us stricken tonight by the news of his death, it doesn't seem right that most of life's benign and trivial stuff goes on: football games, advertisements for Christmas gifts, whatever. It seems that everything should stop out of respect for George. There are many of us tonight that are lost as to what to do.

The Montana Legislature is a high-pressure place, and each of us gets to know one another on an accelerated schedule and 'in the trenches', so to speak. Last session, George became one of my closest friends. I admired that he was so cool. He was an amazing guitar player, and he and his band entertained us during the session at Miller's in Helena. But George and I shared something else; we're both huge fans of Jerry Joseph. Before legislative caucuses a few weeks ago, the last time I'd seen George was at a Jerry Joseph show.

In his heart, George was quintessentially a Montana kid and a Butte guy, and Montanans know what that means. It's a level of devotion unmatched elsewhere, and it's fanatical. As a legislator, George was gifted in not getting too serious about the proceedings of the legislature, but was devoted to doing his best for Butte and Montana. This past summer, I joined him and others at the first home opened in the Bozeman area for people with autism. George's heart was so big and generous that no one ever thought it would stop.

In the next week or so, many of us will come together to honor George, but I can tell you that for some of us, every day without him this coming legislative session, we'll honor him--and miss him so terribly.


mcampbellhd31 said…
George's beautiful girls were born during the 2005 and 2007 sessions---and oh what a proud father he was. Just a couple weeks ago he showed us pictures of his girls as he beamed with pride. He will be so missed that words are difficult. His journey to the spirit world leaves so many friends behind. His family is in our prayers.

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