I received word this morning that a friend and law partner of mine, Monte Walz, died last night. It wasn’t totally unexpected. He had a cardiac event during a medical procedure about week ago and had been in a coma since. And while Monte struggled with a variety of medical conditions for several years, it still comes as a shock — especially when I consider I’m six months older than him.
Over the 25+ years we worked together, Monte practiced in a variety of areas, including some of the most difficult. Those included the maze that is credit card regulation and health care, particularly the regulatory dense area of health information privacy. Those are areas where not only are the regulations page after page of agate type, there’s hundreds more pages the agency produces in explaining the rules as they went through the process of being promulgated. And they seemed to grow every year. His ability to not only understand these types of regs but to explain them to and help those affected speaks a ton about his ability.
I admired Monte’s legal talents — but I loved him for his humor. Especially during the lunches our lawyers have together each week, the odds were good Monte would make some comment that broke up the room. His wit was quick and sharp. Sometimes you’d hear something and in the back of your head you knew it was in Monte’s strike zone. But before that thought fully crystallized, he’d usually already pounced. I always thought this was one aspect of his perceptiveness.
Although Monte’s death accents the fact that my rear view mirror looks back on more and more distance each year, I’m fortunate it’s been populated with people like him.
I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit.
Bill Hicks (Dec. 16, 1961 – Feb. 26, 1994), Feb. 7, 1994