Last week, I saw a report of the death of Lindsey East. He died in the crash of an ultralight aircraft that he was piloting. I soon realized that he was Hunter East's younger brother. I guess we share some Facebook friends, because he had many folks posting their remembrances of a good and respected friend. I didn't know him, but I was reminded that I had ridden bikes with him several times. To me, he was "that guy in a T-shirt" who came out for several Fast Girl rides last year. I take note of such riders and tend to keep an eye on them. What I noticed about this guy was that, though he struggled to hang on for the first couple of weeks, he was soon staying with the front as I struggled to hang on. I assumed that he was a slightly out-of-shape racer, but, no, it was Lindsey, who was not a rider, out checking out the ride with his brother, and within a few weeks he was hammering away. Those East boys were blessed with good genes and a little competitive drive, I'd say!
Since I didn't know him, I can't say much more about Lindsey, so I'll share Hunter's eulogy of his brother, as it says what only a brother can say and it touched me when I read it:
Who was Lindsey Robison East? I think everyone in this room would agree, he was the best brother, son, Uncle, cousin, significant other, friend… anyone could ever hope for. And while there are hundreds of stories that have been running through my mind that would help provide insight into his character, I will try to capture his essence with the following.
As I am about three and half years older than Lindsey, I remember teaching him things when we were kids. How to throw and catch a ball, how to jump his bike over a ditch, how to make the proper noise with your mouth to shoot your imaginary machine gun while playing Army. How to catch a craw-dad with a piece of bacon on a string down at the creek, how to swing on a fresh cut vine all the way across that same creek. I showed him the best hiding places in hide and seek, how to long jump across all four couch cushions in the living room, how to do a front flip from one bed over to the other in our shared bedroom. I taught him these, and many other valuable skills that were necessary when we were kids. It wasn’t until years later that I began to learn things from Lindsey that are much more valuable.
You see, after graduating from college, I thought I had it all figured out. I just could not understand why Lindsey was not fitting into the mold I had so enthusiastically embraced. You are supposed to get a job, take out as large a mortgage as possible, buy as nice a car as you can afford, search for the right women, get married, and have a bunch of kids! Well, Lindsey did not exactly subscribe to that theory! For years I thought he had lost his way during his years in California, and his various travels around the world. I COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG! For he was always on the exact path upon which he was meant to be. Only in the last several years have I come to realize that the path he chose, while different than mainstream, had incredible value and significant meaning, especially to those he met along the way. Lindsey was a “people person“. He cared nothing for material things, only his fellow man. He lived his life in a manner that did not always benefit him, but virtually always provided benefit to others. There are so many examples of Lindsey reaching out to those in need whether it be a friend or the homeless. He loved to connect with people on a very personal level and always took a genuine and sincere interest in their personal stories. He always remembered the little things when he met up with them again. Lindsey just did not judge people. His friends ranged from rich to poor, dirty to clean, black to white, and everything in between. Lindsey had a heart as big as this church, because he always had all of us in his heart.
All of this brings me to the most important thing Lindsey’s life can teach us; it is his legacy. He did not wait until his early forties as most of us do to start thinking about his legacy. He lived it every day for as long as I can remember. And while there are no roads, no buildings, no structures that I am aware of that bear his name… Lindsey Robison East left his indelible mark on all of us. Let us all honor his legacy by trying be more like him every day of our lives. Through all of us, he will still be making the world a better place everyday, just as he has always done.
A friend has lost a brother, so it's a sad day, but the eulogy above says something good about both of the brothers.