My college advisor, Hubertus (Hugh) L Bloemer, passed away yesterday after battling cancer of the lung & liver. I am beyond sad. He was a very special person in my life. He helped me see my potential- something that nobody else but my mother has been able to do. When I went to speak with him about changing my major from civil engineering to cartography in 1994, he immediately took me under his wing and mapped out my remaining years of college. Little did I know he would become one of the most important people in my life. He became almost a father figure to me- a male influence that filled a void my father left years before. He mentored me through my college and graduate school years, and into my mapping career. If he'd had his way, I would have moved on to work in the DC area or New York, but I decided I was a home girl and wanted to live closer to family. But just the fact that he saw my potential to take on such a high-brow career path made me feel special. He saw the potential in a lot of people. He cheered us on, even when we were troubled. He did not judge anyone. He understood the human condition.
When I spoke to him last weekend, I was trying to keep it light and airy... I think he knew it would be the last time we'd speak. He was more solemn than usual. We made plans for me to come visit him in the spring. It snowed today.