Anniversary day, March 27
March 27, 2011
When my father died in 1982, Bruce Graham wrote a eulogy for him. My father and Bruce had worked together for over twenty years. I believe they both felt that their collaboration and respect for each other inspired their creativity over the years. It was Bruce Graham’s enthusiasm for rational structures, my father once said, that strengthened his motivation to search for structural solutions worthy of expression.
I was reminded of the importance of this personal connection between engineer and architect last October when I attended a memorial service for Bruce Graham. Printed on the program for the service was not a eulogy for Bruce but rather the eulogy Bruce wrote for my father. His words eloquently conveyed the heartfelt respect he felt for my father, as an engineer and as a person, and it was deeply moving for me to read them once again. I also greatly appreciated Bruce’s family, together with his former partners at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, choosing to feature his words about my father at a memorial service dedicated to Bruce.
And that was not all. With the help of SOM, Bruce Graham’s family obtained the plot next to that of my parents at Graceland Cemetery and placed a memorial stone for him there. As part of this work, the planting border around my parents’ stone was adjusted so that the two sites – Bruce’s and my parents’ – relate to each other. I am very happy about this new arrangement; and it means a lot to me to know that, 29 years after my father’s passing, his memory endures in this way. Still today, many people express to me their love and admiration for him – and I am sincerely grateful for this.
It is a gift my father left me.
My parents’ stone was mistakenly set into the earth, at the level of the soil, instead of on top of the earth, above ground level, as it had been before the recent adjustments were made. I expect that this will be corrected this spring.