I started working at my current company just over five years ago. I was the 18th employee at the time and our organization has since grown to near 200.
When I started, there were two members of the marketing team, myself and the VP of Marketing. Now, our marketing group is over 15 members strong. During my first few months, I sat near the support area because there wasn't really anywhere else to sit and during that time, I got to interact with a couple of guys that I wouldn't really have interacted with now, considering the size of our company.
Back in those days, our company was small enough that our storage room contained a ping-pong table. We had the space because we didn't have excess marketing materials or remaindered computer parts taking up all the space. Doug and I would go back to the back and play ping-pong a couple of times a day, just to get away from our computer screens for a bit. He was in charge of a bit of product support, but mostly he was our entire IT staff as well as QA and some facilities management.
Doug was a rough guy. He grew up in the '60s and he lived life to its fullest. During our many talks over ping-pong, he let me in on his life and experiences. I was very blessed to have that time with him, learning about the company from its earliest beginnings, but more importantly, learning about Doug and his own life.
Doug passed away on Sunday night from a long battle with cancer. I know that he fought it tooth and nail to the end, but unfortunately, that sometimes isn't enough. I know that his family will miss him very much. Even though he has been absent from work much lately, I always assumed he would be back. I will miss him. He is a link to the past for me. He was the first person who befriended me here at this job. He helped me to fit in, to feel comfortable, even if I was from that dreaded department of "Sales & Marketing" that caused him so many headaches.
Rest in peace, Doug.