I originally posted this at thanksroy.org, the digital memory bank we set up in Roy’s honor. I’m cross posting it here because I think it speaks to what makes a good public historian and what made Roy the very best.
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Of all the amazing qualities Roy possessed — intelligence, generosity, creativity, industry, wit, and so many more — the one that always stood out for me was trust. Roy trusted in history. He trusted in hard work. He trusted in fairness. Most of all, he trusted in people.
Roy was a collaborator. He was brilliant on his own, but I think he was happiest and at his best when he was working with other people. And people flocked to him.
I think Roy was able to gather so many friends and colleagues around him because he trusted them, often without prior cause and always without prejudice, and so people trusted him back. Roy showed us that the way to gain trust is to give trust, which is the same thing as saying that the way to be loved is to love. It’s the best work lesson and the best life lesson I have ever learned, and Roy was the best teacher.
I trust and love and miss him very much.