Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

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Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#1 Post by William Gladstone »

I've been scolded that I must place a disclaimer if I have a relationship or financial interest with a winery - so let me place that out front - that I represent this winery domestically & internationally and have worked closely with the family since prior to the first release)

Lou Kapcsandy has passed away, his son Louis has been groomed to take the reins and I wish him and the family the best.
I've not had the opportunity to digest the impact of this although I was aware he was ..
anyway, I'll gather my thoughts over the coming days right now I'm too choked up ...

I believe many of you wine lovers - Napa travelers have had personal visits and have lovely memory's..
Maybe some day if there is interest I can share some of those memories.

I'm not ready to dive into this.
Wg

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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#2 Post by B. Buzzini »

RIP
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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#3 Post by Ed Steinway »

RIP. I never met him, and I also never heard anything but good things about him, from friends and others. From all accounts he seemed like an extremely likeable and generous person. My condolences to his family and to you, William. Thank you for posting this.

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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#4 Post by Anton D »

Wow, thank you for the note.

We were just there a couple of weeks ago sipping with Brendan. Lou’s touch was obvious everywhere, right down to his ‘sorting machine!’

Lou was a fascinating vigneron.

His attention to detail, his vineyard management, and his palate - all amazing.

Plus, Lou produced America’s only Furmint, which is perfect.

Last night, we served his 2012 Estate wine for family and it was in a good place.

I am sorry for your loss. He was one ofa kind.
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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#5 Post by NED VALOIS »

RIP, Nice man ! [cry.gif]

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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#6 Post by William Gladstone »

Some how I've conveyed the message poorly,
this is not at all about me or my loss.
I appreciate the condolences, although I'm not the focus
and should not be.
It is the wine worlds loss and the thousands who have found
the wine so special and met with Lou and had that very special experience.-
this is wine worlds loss and
they are the community who will be suffering.

Please do not make me the focus, it is making me feel so selfish for sharing this news,
that is all I wanted to do- is share the news - as I know so many people have a special feeling
from enjoying the wines and visiting the winery.
Wg

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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#7 Post by Kevin Sidders »

One of a kind indeed. I consider him among the rare class of exceptional philosopher-winemakers, in command of everything from the big picture to the smallest details. Interesting, gracious, dynamic -- I always enjoyed visiting with him and always learned some things as well. He will be greatly missed by many...
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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#8 Post by Chuck Miller »

I knew Lou well, from long before he started the winery. He used to live in Seattle when he was in the construction industry, and was a big wine collector back then. I (and my crew) moved his wine cellar from his house to Seattle Wine Storage prior to him relocating to Napa. Nice waterfront house on a steep hill, and the cellar was basically 3 flights down. It took us 3 days to move it all (crew of 4-5 guys every day). Some time later I was relaxing with Lou in my lounge and he was telling me that he was going to start a winery in Napa. I remember the conversation well, as I said “Lou, you’re not going to use a special vanity bottle, are you?”. Yes, he was going to use the Haut Brion style bottle. “Lou, you’re not going to hire Helen Turley, are you?”. Yes, he was, and her husband John Wetlaufer as the vineyard manager. “Lou, you’re not going to name it after yourself, are you?”. I figured no one could spell it or pronounce it, and he wasn’t a well known figure in the wine industry at the time. But Lou did it his way, despite my free advice!

He was a genuinely nice and generous man. I remember he had shipped to Seattle Wine Storage a 6 pack each of 1989 and 1990 Le Pin that he had purchased at auction. As we were loading it into his car, I casually mentioned that I had never seen a bottle, let alone tasted one. Being the generous man he was, he reached into the box and pulled out a bottle of the 1989 and gave it to me. I protested but he insisted.

RIP, my friend.
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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#9 Post by Hal Blumberg »

Great story Chuck! Thanks for sharing. RIP and condolences to Lou's family.

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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#10 Post by William Gladstone »

Kevin Sidders wrote: October 15th, 2021, 7:15 pm One of a kind indeed. I consider him among the rare class of exceptional philosopher-winemakers, in command of everything from the big picture to the smallest details. Interesting, gracious, dynamic -- I always enjoyed visiting with him and always learned some things as well. He will be greatly missed by many...
so well said , you really captured the man, I don't know how much you know of his background?
Escaping Hungry when he was 17 y.o. , sneaking under the wire and out the country when communist rode in,
living as a refuge who did not speak English in the Bronx,
Learning and perfecting his English so he had no accent,
taking up boxing and actually defeating Cassius Clay in the AAU armature Championship
leading up to Olympic trials - and then those in charge concerned over Lou's 'American status'
went with Clay to represent the USA in the Olympics.
Then using his Soccer skills to get college scholarship, and went on to kick in Pro Football
for the San Diego Chargers, in the old AFC , back when pay was like a secretary..

I brought him to Vinexpo in Hong Kong 5 - 6 years back, I would rent the suite next to the Presidential Suite,
in the hotel connected to the Exhibit hall. And all day - day through late at night we packed that suite and he was
sharing his passion and love with clients who dropped in.
We did several planned events, prior to the Expo, one was at the THE PENINSULA Hotel , CHINA CLIPPER LOUNGE IN HONG KONG - (if you ever get to Hong Kong try to visit the Peninsula Hotel if you like a taste of old British Class & Style)
our local distributor organized 30 of his high end clients, these darling petite Chinese men in their 70's - 80's
with their 6 foot tall blonde - half their age - concubines by their side.

We had several vintages to share and many of the range Cuvées of Kapcsandy to share, but I had forgotten entirely that this distributor
had purchased (I think it was ) 50 Magnums of the very first vintage ever released - 2004, which is when all the finest juice of the property went into one and only one Cuvee produced - - a 60 / 40 blend of Cab & Merlot. The only Cuvee named for the property they purchased - which was a clear statement of his plan to make wine to rival 1st Growth Bordeaux -
'State Lane Vineyard' is the designation on the label. And it must have been a fruit night, because that wine just had all 30 men fighting over those bottles.
The wine was so amazing... It still remains one of the truly great wine experiences I've ever had, up there with the
1982 Pichon Lalande and '1989 Lynch Bages and '89 Haut Brion are ethereal experiences.
Lou would introduce each different wine and as the evening went on... the stories grew in color, he was some host..

He would say repeatedly during the evening and other days, "I'm Hungarian descent and what is import to us Hungarian men is
wine, woman and horses"..... I guess you would have to be their.

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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#11 Post by William Gladstone »

Chuck Miller wrote: October 15th, 2021, 7:25 pm I knew Lou well, from long before he started the winery. He used to live in Seattle when he was in the construction industry, and was a big wine collector back then. I (and my crew) moved his wine cellar from his house to Seattle Wine Storage prior to him relocating to Napa. Nice waterfront house on a steep hill, and the cellar was basically 3 flights down. It took us 3 days to move it all (crew of 4-5 guys every day). Some time later I was relaxing with Lou in my lounge and he was telling me that he was going to start a winery in Napa. I remember the conversation well, as I said “Lou, you’re not going to use a special vanity bottle, are you?”. Yes, he was going to use the Haut Brion style bottle. “Lou, you’re not going to hire Helen Turley, are you?”. Yes, he was, and her husband John Wetlaufer as the vineyard manager. “Lou, you’re not going to name it after yourself, are you?”. I figured no one could spell it or pronounce it, and he wasn’t a well known figure in the wine industry at the time. But Lou did it his way, despite my free advice!

He was a genuinely nice and generous man. I remember he had shipped to Seattle Wine Storage a 6 pack each of 1989 and 1990 Le Pin that he had purchased at auction. As we were loading it into his car, I casually mentioned that I had never seen a bottle, let alone tasted one. Being the generous man he was, he reached into the box and pulled out a bottle of the 1989 and gave it to me. I protested but he insisted.

RIP, my friend.
thanks Chuck those are really good recollections of Lou and beautiful to share

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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#12 Post by brigcampbell »

Beating Cassius Clay in the AAU?

Like to see a reference on that one.
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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#13 Post by William Gladstone »

brigcampbell wrote: October 15th, 2021, 8:39 pm Beating Cassius Clay in the AAU?

Like to see a reference on that one.
Maybe you can find that reference for all of us to enjoy?

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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#14 Post by Tom Taylor »

ITB

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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#15 Post by F.Daner »

I'm so sorry to see this today. We had a run of 10 years of Napa trips between 2006-2016. I think perhaps our first visit with Lou was in 2009 or 2010. We had some memorable visits with him during that time. You never knew what he might pull from his cellar, how many vintages he had open or what wonderful stories he would share. The pride he had in his family and the business they built was awesome. His palate was fantastic and we still smell wine the way he showed us, make sure to open your mouth and smile.

Our friends who would join us on these trips loved those visits and Kapcsandy day was always a big part of the trip. We generally didn't do much afterwards since Lou would share so much wine. 2 memories really stand out. Our trip was always around our anniversary and Lou always shared the story of his inspiration for Roberta's reserve and his desire to make a world class Merlot. On some trips his wifeBobby would come by and say hello. His love and devotion for her was so evident. We shared with them that we always celebrated our anniversary in Napa and Lou got a big smile. He left the tasting room and came back with a bottle of the 2006 Roberta's as a gift. We always treasured that bottle. On one of our first visits our friend whose husband was serving in Iraq at the time shared his story as a Marine. Lou expressed his love for our country and the sacrifices that were made by those who serve. When we finished up the visit Lou gifted her with a bottle of Grand Vin to share with her husband when his tour was over.

I was lucky enough to build a nice cellar of Lou's wines. I generally open them when we're with our friends from our prior trips. They love the wines so much and it brings back great memories of our visits. I can't think of a better way to celebrate Lou then to share his wines with those closest to you.

Our deepest condolences to Louis Jr, Bobby and the entire team at Kapcsandy.
Fred

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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#16 Post by Markus S »

William Gladstone wrote: October 15th, 2021, 7:51 pm
Kevin Sidders wrote: October 15th, 2021, 7:15 pm One of a kind indeed. I consider him among the rare class of exceptional philosopher-winemakers, in command of everything from the big picture to the smallest details. Interesting, gracious, dynamic -- I always enjoyed visiting with him and always learned some things as well. He will be greatly missed by many...
so well said , you really captured the man, I don't know how much you know of his background?
Escaping Hungry when he was 17 y.o. , sneaking under the wire and out the country when communist rode in,
living as a refuge who did not speak English in the Bronx,
Learning and perfecting his English so he had no accent,
taking up boxing and actually defeating Cassius Clay in the AAU armature Championship
leading up to Olympic trials - and then those in charge concerned over Lou's 'American status'
went with Clay to represent the USA in the Olympics.
Then using his Soccer skills to get college scholarship, and went on to kick in Pro Football
for the San Diego Chargers, in the old AFC , back when pay was like a secretary..

I brought him to Vinexpo in Hong Kong 5 - 6 years back, I would rent the suite next to the Presidential Suite,
in the hotel connected to the Exhibit hall. And all day - day through late at night we packed that suite and he was
sharing his passion and love with clients who dropped in.
We did several planned events, prior to the Expo, one was at the THE PENINSULA Hotel , CHINA CLIPPER LOUNGE IN HONG KONG - (if you ever get to Hong Kong try to visit the Peninsula Hotel if you like a taste of old British Class & Style)
our local distributor organized 30 of his high end clients, these darling petite Chinese men in their 70's - 80's
with their 6 foot tall blonde - half their age - concubines by their side.

We had several vintages to share and many of the range Cuvées of Kapcsandy to share, but I had forgotten entirely that this distributor
had purchased (I think it was ) 50 Magnums of the very first vintage ever released - 2004, which is when all the finest juice of the property went into one and only one Cuvee produced - - a 60 / 40 blend of Cab & Merlot. The only Cuvee named for the property they purchased - which was a clear statement of his plan to make wine to rival 1st Growth Bordeaux -
'State Lane Vineyard' is the designation on the label. And it must have been a fruit night, because that wine just had all 30 men fighting over those bottles.
The wine was so amazing... It still remains one of the truly great wine experiences I've ever had, up there with the
1982 Pichon Lalande and '1989 Lynch Bages and '89 Haut Brion are ethereal experiences.
Lou would introduce each different wine and as the evening went on... the stories grew in color, he was some host..

He would say repeatedly during the evening and other days, "I'm Hungarian descent and what is import to us Hungarian men is
wine, woman and horses"..... I guess you would have to be their.
Wow. That's more of a bio then you first let on.
$ _ € ® e . k @

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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#17 Post by brigcampbell »

William Gladstone wrote: October 15th, 2021, 9:28 pm
brigcampbell wrote: October 15th, 2021, 8:39 pm Beating Cassius Clay in the AAU?

Like to see a reference on that one.
Maybe you can find that reference for all of us to enjoy?
It doesn't exist, it's not true.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#18 Post by David Patte »

brigcampbell wrote: October 16th, 2021, 9:28 am
William Gladstone wrote: October 15th, 2021, 9:28 pm
brigcampbell wrote: October 15th, 2021, 8:39 pm Beating Cassius Clay in the AAU?

Like to see a reference on that one.
Maybe you can find that reference for all of us to enjoy?
It doesn't exist, it's not true.
I just watched the first episode of the Ken Burns’ documentary on Ali so I was just checking the same website Brig— note that Clay had at least 8 amateur losses and that above the screenshot you took it indicates that this is a only partial listing… (not a listing of his 8 losses)
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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#19 Post by Glenn L e v i n e »

Whether or not he ever entered the ring with Cassius Clay he was a gentleman and lovely host when we visited. Adore his wines, never had a bottle that disappointed.

Rest peacefully sir.
"Never lose sight of the fact that it is just fermented grape juice" - a winemaker and negotiant in Napa Valley, CA

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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#20 Post by Dale Williams »

David Patte wrote: October 17th, 2021, 9:08 am
brigcampbell wrote: October 16th, 2021, 9:28 am
William Gladstone wrote: October 15th, 2021, 9:28 pm

Maybe you can find that reference for all of us to enjoy?
It doesn't exist, it's not true.
I just watched the first episode of the Ken Burns’ documentary on Ali so I was just checking the same website Brig— note that Clay had at least 8 amateur losses and that above the screenshot you took it indicates that this is a only partial listing… (not a listing of his 8 losses)
There's no clear record of the early days of Clay/Ali's amateur career. I guess it's possible an unknown from Brooklyn traveled to Louisville to fight an unknown Clay. But thre claim was he defeated Clay in the AAU championship, and by that point Clay's career was wellknown and well documented. As is his path to the Olympic team. And BoxRec doesn't have any Kapscandy records- you don't get into AAU finals as a walkon. I'm pretty skeptical of the Chargers story as well- Pete Gogolak is well known as the first soccer style kicker in the pros in mid60s.
Lots of people -good people- tell tall tales. Not usually any real harm in that. But also no need to pass along as fact. Sounds like there are plenty of accomplishments that LK should be remembered for, not the least of which is having lots of friends.

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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#21 Post by Loren Sonkin »

Sad news. He was a very nice and welcoming man. Prayers for his family.
With regards,

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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#22 Post by Markus S »

Dale Williams wrote: October 17th, 2021, 10:12 am
David Patte wrote: October 17th, 2021, 9:08 am
brigcampbell wrote: October 16th, 2021, 9:28 am

It doesn't exist, it's not true.
I just watched the first episode of the Ken Burns’ documentary on Ali so I was just checking the same website Brig— note that Clay had at least 8 amateur losses and that above the screenshot you took it indicates that this is a only partial listing… (not a listing of his 8 losses)
There's no clear record of the early days of Clay/Ali's amateur career. I guess it's possible an unknown from Brooklyn traveled to Louisville to fight an unknown Clay. But thre claim was he defeated Clay in the AAU championship, and by that point Clay's career was wellknown and well documented. As is his path to the Olympic team. And BoxRec doesn't have any Kapscandy records- you don't get into AAU finals as a walkon. I'm pretty skeptical of the Chargers story as well- Pete Gogolak is well known as the first soccer style kicker in the pros in mid60s.
Lots of people -good people- tell tall tales. Not usually any real harm in that. But also no need to pass along as fact. Sounds like there are plenty of accomplishments that LK should be remembered for, not the least of which is having lots of friends.
Why people would make this stuff up in an obituary is beyond me. If the man is as great as he is, his life will stand on it's own.
$ _ € ® e . k @

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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#23 Post by William Gladstone »

Markus S wrote: October 18th, 2021, 12:46 pm
Dale Williams wrote: October 17th, 2021, 10:12 am
David Patte wrote: October 17th, 2021, 9:08 am

I just watched the first episode of the Ken Burns’ documentary on Ali so I was just checking the same website Brig— note that Clay had at least 8 amateur losses and that above the screenshot you took it indicates that this is a only partial listing… (not a listing of his 8 losses)
There's no clear record of the early days of Clay/Ali's amateur career. I guess it's possible an unknown from Brooklyn traveled to Louisville to fight an unknown Clay. But thre claim was he defeated Clay in the AAU championship, and by that point Clay's career was wellknown and well documented. As is his path to the Olympic team. And BoxRec doesn't have any Kapscandy records- you don't get into AAU finals as a walkon. I'm pretty skeptical of the Chargers story as well- Pete Gogolak is well known as the first soccer style kicker in the pros in mid60s.
Lots of people -good people- tell tall tales. Not usually any real harm in that. But also no need to pass along as fact. Sounds like there are plenty of accomplishments that LK should be remembered for, not the least of which is having lots of friends.
Why people would make this stuff up in an obituary is beyond me. If the man is as great as he is, his life will stand on it's own.
Can I suggest that we follow that path, these are bits of information Lou shared with me during the course of our relationship.
To turn this thread into challenging those facts is a shame, for any of have known Lou - then you were most probably touched by something quite special.
His life is truly a Horatio Alger story, which is about a man who lived a distinguished life, an example of perseverance, integrity and Excellence.
I shared 20+ years closely aligned with the man and the family because he so strongly was bound by his code - that we shared.
I always placed the winery 1st, and did not think of myself, and Lou always looked had my back.
I've never been to war or shared a foxhole, yet it is that saying about sharing a foxhole with a man.

He was generous and thoughtful towards me to a fault, and when I phoned him and said - I've got the buyers of EMIRATES AIRLINES who will come visit-
I'm flying in and will be present - he hired a Napa chef and laid out a big spread, and brought out the wines and sat back and let me handle it
and we started a relationship that led to writing the very largest business
with the Airline and Duty Free shops.
Let's not trivialize his life with this debate... it really misses the point
There was that trust and constant support in each other.

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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#24 Post by Russell Porter »

This is very sad news. Thank you for your comments, William. I never had the opportunity to meet Lou, although I did have the great fortune to visit the winery last year. My friend (and wine Svengali) had talked up the Kapcsandy label and set up the visit, hoping we could meet with Lou, with whom he had met several times during his previous tastings. Unfortunately, Lou wasn't available that day, because all I heard about was this amazing character who created this vineyard, where they studied the wind patterns before planting the vines at just the precise angles to catch the wind blowing up the valley and off the river next to the property just right. Lou used his engineering to design the vineyard, or so I was told.

I was also amazed at his story - not the sports, but the courage the flee Hungary, come to the U.S. and to be as successful as he was. What a story, just that part alone.

I will say that the wine was just like something I had never had before, with incredible movement in your mouth, with subtleties and nuance, and power. I had never spent as much on wine as I did that day. I hope the family continues the meticulous work that Lou began. I hope they keep it in the family.

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Re: Passing of a truly Great Man - Lou Kapcsandy

#25 Post by William Gladstone »

Russell Porter wrote: October 25th, 2021, 3:30 pm This is very sad news. Thank you for your comments, William. I never had the opportunity to meet Lou, although I did have the great fortune to visit the winery last year. My friend (and wine Svengali) had talked up the Kapcsandy label and set up the visit, hoping we could meet with Lou, with whom he had met several times during his previous tastings. Unfortunately, Lou wasn't available that day, because all I heard about was this amazing character who created this vineyard, where they studied the wind patterns before planting the vines at just the precise angles to catch the wind blowing up the valley and off the river next to the property just right. Lou used his engineering to design the vineyard, or so I was told.

I was also amazed at his story - not the sports, but the courage the flee Hungary, come to the U.S. and to be as successful as he was. What a story, just that part alone.

I will say that the wine was just like something I had never had before, with incredible movement in your mouth, with subtleties and nuance, and power. I had never spent as much on wine as I did that day. I hope the family continues the meticulous work that Lou began. I hope they keep it in the family.
Thank you - that is an unusually warm note.
What Lou did which I believe it was Helen Turley's husbands' idea, he purchased 'time' on the NASA satellite - to gather images of the Suns trajectory over the 20 acre parcel of land and then made unusual decisions of planting the rows of vines in a direction based on the findings.
Lou said it was the best investment he made - to use NASA's images for laying out the vineyard.
Later on (he told me) that quite a few of his neighbors slowly took the information and laid out their rows in the same direction as they made replanting.
In the bowl of that canyon temperatures can go to above 110 degree's, so while he wanted the earth and rocks to hold the heat over night he wanted to shade the vines as much of the day as was possible.

He was truly a very special man.

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