I met Bill Hall sometime in 1993 or 1994 when we both worked at Novell. He was already a well-known software engineer, consultant, and internationalization guru. As a recently minted college graduate, I adopted Bill as my mentor. Like many mentors, Bill probably never knew this. And yet, he mentored me for more than 16 years in this globalization industry. He is the one, the only one, that I thought knew all there is to know.
Bill Hall could laugh until tears came to his eyes, and he could look at you and freeze a moment with you as if you were the only person in the world that mattered. Later in his life, his eyes would water for no good reason, except that maybe he was just getting older, and allergies or maybe just life itself had squeezed most of Bill out.
When Bill wasn’t talking about internationalization or piloting, he always spoke of his wife and children. I met his wife Ewa and one of his children, Kasia. They and my own wife toured around Tokyo one year long ago while Bill and I spoke at a conference or just happened to be in Tokyo together. I suppose the event doesn’t really matter; it was a long time ago. Kasia must be a junior or senior in college now….wow, time flies.
Just today, I received an email from Kasia, a personal email telling me that her father had died. I’ve since discovered that many others in the internationalization and globalization industry have received a similar but different email or notification from Kasia. At least a dozen other people that I know received those personal emails that said something that only Bill and you would know, something that Bill shared with you, and I got one of those from Kasia. After the initial shock of learning of his death, I couldn’t help but smile. Kasia had sent out an email to me, just to me, and it was personal, and I realized that his dear daughter had inherited Bill’s way of reaching out to people one on one, making them feel as if you were the only person in the world that mattered.
Thanks, Bill for your friendship, for your knowledge, and for what you’ve given our industry. We already miss you.