Archive for November 2005

Roy Chadowitz, 1955-2005

I started at Sun at the end of February, 1989. I think Roy
joined within a month of me. When I made the jump from Customer
Services to Sales Support, he was my first manager. I owe him a
lot in terms of my personal development. He was always something
of an older brother figure and mentor to me. Roy always showed a
genuine interest in individuals and their families. He did all
he could to make working for Sun more family-friendly. He set a
good example of working hard whilst having fun, and without
forgetting that there was much more to life than work.

The only criticism I ever heard of Roy was that we was very
tight with money. Sometimes he seemed to give the impression
that our business expenses, equipment budget and so on came
directly out of his personal savings. But he always applied the
same control to his own spending — only more so. Even when he
was home bound it was hard to get Roy to spend even modest
amounts on the equipment he really needed to do his job. I
guess the chipboard coffin is standard Jewish practice, but I’m
sure Roy would have heartily approved!

But what sticks with me most if Roy’s patience and endurance
through so much suffering. He had so many secondary issues to
deal with due to his early cancer treatment (I guess they went
over the top on that because they didn’t think he had long to

I think it is worth telling the story of Roy being given 6 months to
live — 10 years ago. I think we need to record his 50th
birthday. The story of Roy tripping on a marquee guy rope and
the walking around with a broken neck for at least 6 months is
remarkable. If I recall correctly, he was in a lot of pain, but
they put it down to his cancer. Roy proudly showed me his x-rays
(first the beautiful intricate work of the neurosurgeons
supporting his broken next, and then the functional rods
inserted by the orthopedic chaps). Later he showed me the x-ray
of the electrodes wired into his spine for pain relief
(something like a cross between a TENS machine and a pacemaker).

He endured so many operations, so much pain, and so many
setbacks. But he also made huge progress and frequently amazed
us with with determination to bounce back and continue with his
work. I will always remember seeing Roy in “The Directors”
line-up at the 2004 kick-off meeting in Nottingham.

The last year was hard to watch. It doesn’t seem long after
Nottingham that the sudden paralysis came. It was hard to see
Roy brought so low. But he wouldn’t give up fighting, even
then. Sometimes we felt he needed to stop work, but it had to be
his choice. And as we watched, it seemed clear that Roy knew he
would decline very rapidly if he had nothing to do, nothing to
aim for any more. Very rarely did we hear any complaint.

It was my privilege to be welcomed in to the Chadowitz home on
many occasions. Carol always kept me well fed, and Simon was
often good company during the long waiting periods which come
with certain system admin chores. I remember the excitement
around Lee’s Bar Mitzvah, and Roy’s pride in explaining it all
so me. What an amazing family! So much practical love. There
were dark moments — times when it was clear that Roy was
troubled about the burden he had become, but no-one would hear
such talk! The love that Roy and Carol shared was an inspiration
to see.

I last emailed Roy the day after his 50th birthday (although I
didn’t know that at the time). two days before he finally left
us. That was the first time I didn’t get a reply. When Greg
phoned on the Saturday evening it was the call I had been
dreading for years — 10 years. I’d expected it, but somehow
Roy’s determination to keep going had lulled me into a false
sense of security. It was like hitting a wall.

I had got used to seeing Roy confined to his bed. Even then I’d
seen him struggle — and improve! But I’d been away for too many
weeks (business trips and heavy colds kept me away). I didn’t
see Roy at his lowest. I didn’t see him when he was unable to
speak. That would have been intolerable for him. He always had
so much to say. So much to give.

His most common parting shot to me was “Keep smiling, Phil”.
It’s hard to do that just now, Roy, but I’ll try!

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