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On the Loss of Bill McGovern, Communication and Caring

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Sadly, industry veteran Bill McGovern (left) died last week from a rare illness. A service was held to celebrate his life this past weekend at the St. Peterburg Yacht Club in Florida.

McGovern served in the U.S. Navy on the USS Forestal during the Vietnam War, one of his colleagues told me, and helped put out a fire on the aircraft carrier that took the lives of 134 crew on July 29, 1967.

He went on to work at Raymond James (RJF) from 1987 to 2006, and then ran his own recruiting firm. He helped me countless times with stories about changes in compensation, recruiting, the independent broker-dealer world and related issues.

McGovern shared many hours of his professional time with me, much of it while he was ill, but did not disclose that he was suffering. At the end of our calls, of course, I would thank him for his input and time. I also assumed I’d be calling him again soon when it was time to write another story on recruiting or the latest acquisition in the IBD arena.

If I’d known of his illness, I would have expressed even more gratitude. (Of course, even journalists can’t know everything.)

Regardless, I hope I can fully and more frequently communicate how much I appreciate the time and thoughts shared with me by industry insiders and other sources in the future, when appropriate. Journalists depend on such input and kindness, which — like so many things in life — can’t (and shouldn’t) be taken for granted.

McGovern’s family and friends shared his story over the past year or so on CaringBridge.

CaringBridge has become an amazing resource for families coping with health and other issues in their lives. It gives them a way to share information and receive kind words and thoughts on a daily basis.

I’ve spent more than a year using CaringBridge to follow and support the parents of a teenage son who survived a horrific car crash 18 months ago. His father works in the financial services industry and attends a church near mine.

If you have clients, colleagues, friends or family members who want to share information and derive support for an online community, CaringBridge is a great way to go.

As I read about the progress of McGovern’s illness and the corresponding words of love and support from others on CaringBridge, I got a glimpse into his final months, weeks and, sadly, days. All along the way, though, he was surrounded—both online and offline—with kindness.

There can never be too much of that in our professional and personal relationships. Thanks for sharing so much with me, Bill.