Saturday, December 3, 2011

When one loses a friend... Terrence Wing

At about 9pm on December 1, 2011., I received a call from Michelle Winkley, a colleage and associate from the ASTD chapter in Los Angeles. She asked if I had seen Terrence Wing's Facebook page? I told her I hadn't been on Facebook all day. She then asked if I had spoken with Marie? At the moment, I hadn't equated Marie with Terrence and replied no. She informed me that Terrence had passed away earlier that afternoon from a heart attack. My first response was, "Are you kidding?" I was incredulous. Her voice showed no humor and I knew it was real...My entry into shock was a quick one...

I called from my home office to my wife and said, "Terrence just passed away..." My wife replied, "Terrence who?"

No one suspected anything would ever happen to Terrence at the young age of 42. I certainly didn't.  Over the past few years he and I had formed a great friendship and we shared many things in common. We worked on projects, shows, events, and a webcast together.  It was always a pleasant experience.  We talked for hours about politics, eLearning, social media, the military (he was a Captain in the Army) and just about anything else two friends could talk about.

He and I grew up in Queens, NY about 15 years apart. Both came to Los Angeles for different reasons and both had passions in Training, technology and social media. I met him through Trish Uhl who thought we'd make good associates. She was right. I reached out to Terrence via Twitter and we set up a time to have breakfast together in Santa Monica.

Our first meeting was absolutely hilarious! When we met I said, "Hmm, I thougt you were Chinese?" He laughed. "Nope, from the Isalnds" he said. Leslie, my wife, said, "You must be part Chinese...He was laughing.So were we. His picture on Twitter, to us, could have gone either way and "Terrence Wing"  sounded like an Asian name. So much for pre-conceptions. <smile>

In that breakfast, a friendship was formed instantly.

Shortly after that we did some work together and I dragged him into doing voice-over for a course we were doing for GE. He had never done voice-over before but thought it would be fun. And from there we had lots of business and personal interaction.

Two years ago I started an audio podcast named eLearnChat. It wasn't working because YouTube just didn't lend itself to audio podcasts. Also, the audio format just lacked that interactive feel I was looking for. I did some research, invested money to build a small studio and looked for a co-host for the new eLearnChat show. I didn't really look for a host, I called Terrence and asked if he'd join me. The response, after a micro-second of deliberation, was instant from him, "YES!"  And we filmed 39 shows together. Wow! We had a lot of fun doing the shows and I'm convinced he liked the show more than I did.

Last Wednesday, we were talking about new plans for the show, new guests, new ideas. We were having fun trying to make the show more fun for 2012. We also discussed seminars, shows and where to have lunch next...

In the years I've known Terrence I would say he was my newest "old" friend. He was like someone I knew forever and it was an incredibly comfortable relationship... A relationship that ended too soon...

Terrence was one of those people that wanted everyone to succeed, to do better. He made it a point to always recommend someone for something. I think that made him happy. He had a great work ethic and an enormous passion for what he believed in: social learning and media, Training,video and technology. And he placed people first at all times. It was always a fight to see who grabbed the bill first at a meal...

Terrence and I talked several times a week and always had a good time on the show and at shows.  I feel a real black hole in my heart right now. But I know he's at peace and probably starting some sort of initiative for social media in heaven.  He's like that, you know... :)

Terrence leaves behind his sweet wife, Marie. He also leaves behind a lot of people whom he touched with his ideas and that smile, always that smile...

May you rest in peace, Terrence. You won't be forgotten... I salute you, Captain Wing. Thank you for your friendship.


  1. Thanks for this tribute to Terrence and to friendship, Rick! He will not only be remembered but continue to live in the many friends and networks he 'created' with his social media passion.

  2. You describe what the rest of us struggle to put into words. Terrence will live in in so many people's hearts and minds.

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  4. This is a beautiful and heartfelt tribute Rick. When I say that my heart goes out to the Wing family, that includes you as well. It was obvious to anyone who saw you and Terrence together how close you were.

  5. What a lovely tribute to Terrance. Thanks for sharing...

  6. A wonderful tribute, Rick. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Rick, what a genuine tribute to your friend. I just wanted to offer my condolences to you, because I can tell you and so many others are hurt by this loss.

  8. Rick, I only met Terrence once, but his radiant smile and presence are unforgettable. Thank you for this tribute to a real gentleman. Our world is less now, but more because he was here.