I just read the sad news about Lee Dirks on Twitter and read Savas’ blogpost. Lee and his wife Judy were killed in an accident in Peru. It’s a sad day. My thoughts go out to his family, friends and colleagues. Lee was a great guy.
The last time I saw Lee he and I were sharing the podium for a session at the NFAIS meeting in Philadelphia. I was presenting on our experiences with curation and crowdsourcing and Lee was presenting on Microsoft Academic Search. His presentation is here.
Whenever I saw Lee it was always a strong handshake, a big smile, a “how’s it going” and just all around positive emotion. He could hold a room. His presentations were amusing, his style engaging and his larger than life presence was a joy to be around both professionally and socially. I never met him outside of professional circles but in my mind I can only imagine him to be a fun man to live with…high-spirited, good sense of humor, adventurer, open-minded, a supportive husband and fun dad. That’s how he showed up professionally! And clearly he was an adventurer.
Lee’s work on Microsoft Academic Search was taking the platform to a new place as the presentation at NFAIS explained. I’ve inserted it below.
While a man’s work is not THE measure of who he is it is A measure. I think Lee, measured by his work, was a wonderful man. Measured by my interactions with him he was a great man. And measured by the small number of times he spoke of his family, he loved them very much.
I will miss meeting him, receiving his smile and having a good strong handshake. It’s a sad day and a wake up call to all of us to embrace the moments we have, hug our kids, love our partner and go big or go home in life. Life is frail