wonderful man, a great American, died last month.
Egan was the founder of EMC Corp., a former ambassador to Ireland, a
libertarian-leaning Republican and, I am honored to say, a friend of
to share these thoughts with you because sometimes we forget there
are still heroes — even when their passing isn't noted as much as
that of, say, politicians and mobsters — including this capitalist
businessman who created thousands of jobs in Massachusetts and
Egan also created a lucrative investment opportunity for regular
folks who invested in EMC when it went public in 1986.
one of those investors, alas. I knew Dick then, but I thought that
he was an insurance company lobbyist, confusing him, I suspect, with
another acquaintance named Dick. I ran into him at various business
meetings and political times, and found him a kindred ideological
spirit; we talked politics in a corner while really important people
socialized around us.
while I asked him what he did, and he told me he sold filing
systems. I pictured a warehouse filled with tan or gray filing
cabinets and moved on to a discussion of who was running for what.
It was years before I became aware of the computer storage product
that made him one of the richest men in America.
started to catch on when he sent a contribution to Citizens for
Limited Taxation (CLT) and became one of its few corporate
supporters. He sent a final check a few weeks before he died; not
knowing he had Stage IV lung cancer, I mailed a thank-you note
anticipating that we would be enjoying the coming election cycle
Chip and I ended up going to his memorial service last week at EMC
headquarters in Southborough. It was two wonderfully inspiring
founding partner, Roger Marino, and the two men who succeeded Dick
as chairman following his retirement, told stories about his
extraordinary achievements. Four of his children told stories about
the fun of having him as a father and grandpa. There was also a
video tribute from EMC employees who appreciate the chance to work
at such a successful company.
Beautiful music was provided by the Electric Youth from the Franklin
School of Performing Arts. Dick's teenage grandson, Michael, soloed
with the moving "Home," and if there was a dry eye in the
auditorium, it wasn't mine.
an hour trying to choose just the right flower arrangement, finally
gave up on the 800-numbers and direct-phoned English Garden Florists
who were happy to give me exactly what I wanted: Red roses for
excellence, white daisies for never losing the common touch, and
blue anything to complete the patriotic theme for a man who loved
was little mention during the memorial service of Dick's political
involvement, so I'll focus on it here. He not only contributed huge
sums to his chosen presidential candidates, he personally
collected signatures for CLT's income tax rollback petition in 2000!
copied me a letter he sent to the
Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, declining to serve on its
board as long as it opposed the rollback.
share with you another letter he
wrote to the Boston Globe after we won that campaign.
REGARDING THE Nov. 19 news story, "State-tied firms bankrolled
major premise suggesting that everyone who supported the tax
rollback with significant financial donations was trying to
curry favor with the governor for state business is classic
While I can't speak for everyone else who was also disparaged in
this article, I can tell you the only two reasons I strongly
supported the rollback were:
Commonwealth is rolling in cash. Promises are made to be kept,
even from politicians.
believe the intent of this article was to discredit those of us
who had the audacity to support a position opposed by the
almighty Globe (editorials, Nov. 6 and 7).
the record, I also donated to the Massachusetts High Technology
Council and the Citizens for Limited Taxation to support the tax
RICHARD J. EGAN
known fact: After his retirement, Dick published a book of lawyer
jokes just for fun.
Barbara presenting the
Warren T. Brookes Award to Dick Egan at 2000 CLT banquet
Dick was asked to attend CLT's "20 years of ballot initiatives"
brunch, so we could give him our annual Warren T. Brookes award,
named for the Marblehead columnist who helped create Proposition 2½
and wrote a book celebrating the free-enterprise system.
accepted the invitation, "as long as I don't have to dress up or
give a speech." Dressed casually for the weekend event, he brought
some family and friends from his native Dorchester, mingled and
laughed with CLT members, then, apparently inspired, asked if he
could "say a few words." We loved his speech; we loved him.
loved political activism, along with his large family, his work, and
his life. Still it came as no surprise to me to read that he had
shot himself; cancer had already doomed his body, and at age 73, he
chose his own road to eternity.