Dick Gartrell, a long-time CUPA-HR leader and chair of the board of directors in 2004-05, passed away on July 19.
The touching eulogy delivered by friend and colleague Amy King (a former CUPA-HR volunteer leader who worked with Gartrell at the University of Denver for many years and succeeded him as director of HR there) at his funeral service provides some insight into Gartrells' strength, character and integrity. Here's an excerpt:
"I challenge each of us to listen and reflect on who Dick was as I believe he was here on earth to teach us about integrity by being the model of respect to anyone who knew him or crossed his path. Many people had the wonderful opportunity to have Dick as a mentor. There was no formal relationship established. It happened without knowing. It happened through his modeling of the behavior. He was a man of high integrity and principle. It was all about respect. In fact, respect was the tagline on every email you would receive from him, even after he retired.
I had the wonderful opportunity to have him as a coach and mentor. Every question I had, he demonstrated patience in my learning. If you inquired, he was the teacher — no matter the topic. He taught me that Human Resources should not about policy and regulations. Instead, Human Resources should be about the people. He taught me that situations cannot always be black and white and the good ones — the good HR folks — often find the solution in the grey so that the individual can always be treated with dignity and respect. It is all about respect.
He was a man of unwavering faith, which was part of his tapestry of teaching. He secretly wove his faith in the Divine into his work — very unassuming, yet that was the guide behind his principles, his morals, his values, and his ethics. I am not certain one could have met a man with more integrity. We can all strive to have his wisdom, his nurturing patience and his yearning to do the right thing for any individual who was before him. That was what was so special about his mentoring — it created a foundation to become a person/a leader of character and integrity. The learning was there — you simply had to choose to develop what was taught from him.
Here we are today, celebrating his life and recalling how he touched every one of us. How interesting, someone who had the weakest physical heart, had the biggest, kindest heart."
We will be forever grateful for Dick’s many contributions to his colleagues, CUPA-HR and the higher ed HR profession.
Read Gartrell's obituary.