A tribute to Richard Lane, my father’s business partner

He cast a considerable presence. In fact, it’s hard to think of Dick without thinking of a lion – our silvery-haired lion who stalked the savannah of southern California real estate. 

As a measure of his grace, he was always respectful to me, as the son of my father – before it was earned, from the day I arrived at Ellis & Lane, until the day we sold the wonderful graying goose that had provided so many golden eggs. 

His steel-trap mind did not suffer fools gladly. You wouldn’t want to be negotiating against him if you weren’t at the top of your game. The occasional growl from the lion’s den could make lesser men – and secretaries, quake, but the size of the lion’s heart brought relief and blessing to all he loved. 

Dick’s amazing genius with all things financial was expressed long-form, by hand, with a sharpened pencil in beautiful script, before the computer changed all our lives. His spreadsheets could only be compared to the work of one of the great composers. There was an elegance to the way he expressed numbers on a page that was extra-ordinary. 

The strengths that Dick and Dad brought together truly made for a wonderful partnership that enriched all of us and blessed my life immensely. His genius, his work ethic, and his integrity produced an abundance in the lives of many through the various partnerships that Dad and Dick formed together.  

We shared a favorite film: Stanley Kubrick’s 2001, A Space Odyssey. Something about the film captured his vision and imagination about the future, and inspired both of our senses of wonder. 

In another place or time, he could have been a general or field marshall, or building castles along the Rhine, or a sage financial advisor to prime ministers or kings. 

He and Cherry drove up for my 50th birthday party, five years ago. His presence at that event was very special to me. 

There is a famous line in C.S. Lewis’s book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, where one of the characters asks if Aslan, the lion, is safe. 

“Who said anything about safe,” came the reply. “But he’s good. He’s the king, I tell you.

I offer my heartfelt farewell to our good king, Richard, the Lionhearted, a great man who left his mark on so many.


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