For weeks now I've had this item on my to-do list. It is time to send an update to the folks on the list and let them know what we're up to in life. Without fail when I sent that note I would have gotten a thoughtful beautiful response from Bill.
When checking email this afternoon, however, I saw an email from a friend with the subject Bill Floreck. When a friend emails and the subject is the name of another friend the news is never good. And it was the worst sort of news possible.
"Bill Floreck passed away on Friday, July 14th," the message began. A very sad day indeed.
I had the great pleasure of working with Bill on Larimer County Search and Rescue for a couple of years and later on the Larimer County Emergency Services Support Team. So many memories make up those days we spent together. From grinding through meetings to sunny days in the snow practicing driving the snow cat and doing avalanche searches or sitting in Bill and Kate's dining room practicing navigation. The memories will live on forever and his spirit will continue to bring joy to all those who were fortunate enough to have shared a little bit of life with Bill.
In January 2005 Bill wrote in an email to friends:
As I walked, the cold and damp air almost seemed to crack around me. All around
was a half visible, half shrouded world of muted sights and sounds. To the East where I am usually treated to a wonderful burst of colorful pre-dawn light each morning on my walk, only a slightly brighter world of silvery and gray fog and frost greeted me. In the distance I could hear the sounds of vehicles on the county road as they passed. In the other direction I also heard the last lonesome yelp of a coyote as it ended it's long night's hunt and headed to daytime shelter. The stream that feeds our ponds continues to flow, topped by a sheltering layer of ice formed in the middle of the cold nights. The water steadily flows down into the ponds, restoring the water levels after the long and dry summer drained them almost dry. Under the ponds' thick coating of ice I know many fish and other creatures rest and hibernate the cold winter away. Across the surface of the ponds wind the telltale tracks of the many different creatures we share this land with; rabbits, foxes, muskrats, coyotes, cats and dogs. Like miniature highways, the tracks form various patterns of travel, life, and possibly death as the hunted seek to avoid the hunters. It is a chapter in a never ending story that can only be read on top of the waters' ice in winter, lost all too soon when the spring thaw comes and the paths shift to the land while the story and struggles continue.
Whether sharing our walks on a search and rescue mission or training, or as distance had demanded lately through our emails it was always a pleasure walking with Bill and sharing his magnificent wisdom, heart and the way he noticed the little details.
There are some photos from happier days here.
Following is the obituary that appeared in The Coloradoan on July 16, 2006.
William Edward Floreck, 57, of Wellington, died July 14, 2006, in Loveland.
William was born on Jan. 6, 1949, in Sacramento, Calif., to Helen C. Floreck and Edward B. Floreck.
He attended Springfield College in Springfield, Mass., and received his MBA from Northwestern University in Chicago, Ill., where he was also awarded an Honors diploma from the American Bankers Association National Trust School. William also received a Trust Sales School diploma from Canon Financial Institute and spent two years as a YMCA world service worker in Lagos, Nigeria.
William lived in Indianapolis, Ind., from 1973 to 1999, and on Oct. 19, 1999, he married his wife, Catherine Van Kampen, in Tucson, Ariz. He was previously married to Patricia Manning Arbuckle of Indianapolis, Ind.
William spent five years in Fort Collins and was a senior vice president-trust officer. He was on the board of directors for Human Animal Bond In Colorado, or HABIC, Larimer County Search and Rescue, and was a community investment volunteer for United Way. He was a great lover of music, gifted with computers, a gourmet chef, an avid gardener and had compassion for animals. William enjoyed remodeling and loved the outdoors, along with camping and canoeing. He also enjoyed rollerblading, cycling and hiking. William was a Scout Master, played college baseball and coached both of his sons in baseball and soccer for many years.
He is survived by his wife, Catherine Van Kampen; sons, Benjamin R. Floreck of Aurora, Stephen E. Floreck of Indianapolis, Ind., and Stephen Van Kampen of Honolulu, Hawaii; daughter, Jo Van Kampen of Wellington; cousin, Luise C. Eadie of Kennewick, Wash. He was preceded in death by his parents, Edward B. Floreck and Helen C. Floreck.
Memorial service will be at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Bohlender Funeral Chapel, 121 W. Olive St., Fort Collins, CO 80424, (970) 482-4244. Benjamin R. Floreck will be officiating. Cremation is planned.
Memorial contributions to Bill Floreck Memorial Human Animal Bond Fund - HABIC. Please make donations to First Western Trust Bank, 318 Canon Ave., Suite 100, Fort Collins, CO 80521, (970) 484-9222. Bohlender Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.