Creating a Legacy Obituary

The ink was not even dry...

…on the clerk and recorder documents, the BOLD CAPS emblazoned “Letters of Testamentary”. Ralph C. Wilson (not his real name) ascended into heaven right on schedule, according to the Father’s calendar not ours.

He left behind a pile of property to distribute. It was at the family meeting where I got the real message. The pile of property was substantial, a life of working and saving not getting a chance to spend it all.

This man however, left behind so much more than property. He left character imprints like skin art tattoos on his family.

We lost his wife Sarah a number of years ago to a mean and nasty Cancer. Since then Ralph channeled his substantial physical and emotional energy into finishing well.


The family dimension of his life was on full display

While the kids were assembled in the conference room to settle the estate, they were still clearly mourning, but in a strange, beautiful and healthy sense. The sons talked of no share times when it was just man-to-man with Dad. The daughter talked of “Dates with Dad”.

I was thinking how nicely he invested time with his teenage daughter helping her through adolescence. But, no, she wasn’t thinking that far back. Her memories were close. The dating was recent.

With a gaze toward the ceiling, eyes rolled up remembering, “It was just last month we went to the Ocean Prime restaurant and then to a concert downtown. It wasn’t just the thin chit-chat about this and that as we really talked heart to heart what the Bible calls deep to deep. I’ll remember that evening forever.”

Those memories never leave, nor do they diminish. Even in the Third3rd of life, ages 60 to as long as God give us life, children still spell love as…


Ralph knew that and lived it. I was seeing it in full living color right in front of me. I was witnessing a Legacy Obituary.

These were not just a bunch of nice words. Nor were they simply some history and a little photo, crammed into a #8 font to keep the cost down pasted into the Denver Post, but something altogether much more permanent.

Those of us in the Third3rd of life possess a treasure

We have the opportunity to make this treasure eternal. The tangible wealth we leave behind is obliterated by the regular cares of this life. Piles of property become someone else’s piles.

This real Legacy planning is actually Legacy planting

It is like leaving skin art on our descendants. A permanent mark indicating something lifelong. The gazing memory of the daughter made me think she will take that all the way into heaven when it is her turn to ascend.

Part of the treasure is time

Invest time in places which generate eternal returns. When we all get to heaven we won’t be comparing what is in our billfolds. We will be comparing pictures of people with spiritual tattoos left by close encounters with us while we were still alive.

Mentoring that is
Intentional, Deep-Change, Whole-Life, Transformational
also leaves tattoos on our souls
in every 3rd of our lives

The one who is mentored and the people connected to the results of the mentoring, all are in a life-enhancing process of continuing change. Life changes in very important ways through continuing mentoring in the Third3rd of life.

Are you a Ralph C. Wilson? Would you like to be? Continued mentoring matters in these matters.

Free Resource

LDG_ebook_coverFor more information on designing leaders through Intentional, Deep-Change, Whole-Life, Transformational Mentoring, download our free eBook.

Written by

Steve Musick is the President and CEO of Destiny Capital Corporation in Golden, Colorado. Since 1977 Steve has been in the business of managing family wealth for generations. He is an author, blogger, lecturer and has been an adjunct speaker and mentor at the University of Denver specializing in entrepreneurial leadership, as outlined in his 2013 book “Job Generation: Putting America Back To Work…Again.” When not in business uniform Steve can be found strolling a golf course, blasting a top spin forehand on the tennis court, or wading quietly through a trout stream. Steve has been married to Elaine since 1978, and they have three sons, two who are married and one soon to be married. At Leadership Design Group we are also immensely grateful to have Steve and Elaine as engaged, active, wisdom-sharing members of LDG’s Board of Directors.

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