I received notice that Colonel (real name, Ken) passed away yesterday. It is always hard to receive news like that around the holidays. The last time I saw him in person was at the LaFollette boxing show back in July. I had heard from a few times via text messages (I have a raggedy cell phone that's not completely reliable). The last message asked me to call him soon. I made promises to myself to do so, but I never got around to it. Now I regret that.
Colonel was a Vietnam war veteran. He did not go into deep details about his time in the service. But he said enough to let us know that it was no picnic. After the service, Colonel joined the Chicago Fire Department where he remained until he retired. He knew both boxing and martial arts, and he coached both. Many of us at Loyola Park benefited from his knowledge.
He kept us laughing down at the gym. The man had plenty of stories to go around. There were a lot of off-color jokes he said that I wanted to put in this blog, but I couldn't. But trust me, the jokes were funny. There were also the stories about how he had to handle his business on people in the street who mistakenly thought Colonel was an easy mark. He also had good advice, too. I was helped greatly by his insights after I was unjustly fired from the church I used to work and attend.
What I will remember most is his attitude about his health condition. It was kept quiet for awhile, but eventually it was revealed that Colonel was dealing with cancer. Despite of everything, Colonel never let it get him down. He was still doing his workouts, and just living his life. Colonel was moving and getting around better than most guys twenty and thirty years younger than he.
I will miss him greatly.