In March, I made a trip to Dallas, Texas with my brothers. It was as beautiful as it was heartbreaking, as we were there to visit our great Uncle Wally and his wife, my Aunt Bonnie, while he battled late stage cancer. He passed away on April 21, 2017 - a beloved family man with an incredible career, first in journalism and then public relations. To my brothers and me, he was like a grandfather.
I could wax rhapsodic about how simultaneously cerebral and kind my Uncle Wally was, but my favorite anecdote about him happens to be about the social media war he waged against Ancestry.com. He was a loyal user and loved digging into our family history, but when the site changed their design and user interface, Uncle Wally hated it. (Personally, I've never used it...but I trust Walt Sharp's judgment.)
The only reason I even knew this was because he would write long letters of complaint to Ancestry.com and post them on their Facebook page. (Yes, more than once. The man was on a mission.) He actually had a huge number of supporters, too. I would see his incensed posts and imagine Uncle Wally rallying up a virtual crowd of disgruntled, pitchfork-wielding family tree enthusiasts.
I like to imagine that somewhere, someone on the Ancestry.com's marketing staff probably checks their Facebook page now and feels a tiny pang of disappointment that they don't have a Walt Sharp post to spice up their day.
I know I do.