Read Ralph's Book The Leadership Maker
Follow Us:
Phone: 207-653-2552


The Measure Of A Leader

Home > Articles > Leadership

Normally I write about business things that I think will have interest to all of you and contribute to the work we do here at Priority Learning. This month is different. What follows may be the most important thing I can write and, in addition to being pretty therapeutic for me, it may just resonate with all of you.

We just lost a truly unique and special man and like all really special people he will leave a very big hole in our lives. If the measure of a man is the people who love and respected him, then Bob Parenteau broke the scale. He left this life in the same fashion he first entered my life back in the 80s, telling corny jokes to his daughters while never revealing the obvious pain he was in.He held on to his life until he had a chance to say goodbye and tell all of those people he touched that he loved them. He lived a life of integrity and grit, he took chances, he loved a lot and got his money’s worth from every moment. So, understandably we are all feeling lose that he will no longer be there to show kindness to the least able in our society, patience with our complex society, complete dedication to his country and enormous love for his family and all of the rest of us fortunate enough to be touched by him.

Bob was born in the early 20s and lived through the great depression, World War II, Korea, the death of the Kennedy Brothers, Martin Luther King, Viet Nam, 9/11 and more, not forgetting to mention countless recessions. He helped liberate Europe and when last I saw him the day before he passed away (Thursday, August 24th) he was wearing a tee shirt with our flag proudly displayed.  He would have it no other way. He raised four extraordinary children (one of whom I was lucky enough to marry) and loved his wife Marie like the wedding vows all tell us we should.  Along the way he built business and shared his craft with his boys and his great heart with all his children. Somewhere along the way he also showed us all how to be men. Here are just a few of the things he taught me because I was paying attention.

Compassion – for some reason Bob could feel others’ pain and had a need to go to the next step to help others in pain. Many people have the capacity to feel, few go on to make a difference.
Patience – when people say “life is a marathon and not a sprint” Bob will always come to my mind. He got up every day and chipped away at what he wanted change and built upon what he loved and knew somehow that the journey was a long one and he had time.
Passion – we all love but the unbridled sharing of that love is somehow lost in our fear that people may take advantage of us. Not Bob, he only knew one way to love and that was full blast, all out and in quantity.
Optimism – his belief in this world and all of us left behind never stopped. These days, it is easy to watch the news and slide into depression. I’m not sure why but I never spoke with him when I didn’t walk away feeling a little more hopeful.
Integrity – we are how we behave. Each day I will get up and try, just try, to live my life with the honest genuine elegance and class of Bob Parenteau. They don’t make them like that anymore unless we take a lesson from this very substantial life.

At the end he was with the people he loved, was able to “close up the shop” his way and pass on a legacy that will last for generations, and still I can’t quite let him go. People say, “He is in a better place” which may be true but for a while I think I am going to keep him with me.

Thank you very much for your patience and for reading this article. I will be back next month with something probably more in line with our work.

Best to all,

0 (0)


Ralph Twombly
Priority Learning

In the 20 years since starting Priority Learning, Ralph has facilitated countless learning experiences and has conducted training for thousands of managers and leaders. With over 30 years of leadership development and organizational development background and work, Ralph continues to build relationships with client companies all over the U.S.



Submit A Comment:



Preparation for Building a Culture

Every Year Tells a Story

The Pillars of Organizational Culture

Magic - What is in this book?

Dunning Kruger Effect

The language of leading through caring (part II)

Why does a flourishing organization matter?

Peer Communication and Care

Communications That Can Enhance your Relationships

Persistence: A Vital Leadership Quality

Increasing Meeting Participation


Time for a Paradigm Shift