A week of loss

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It has been a week of loss.

Albemarle Hospital Board Chairman David Twiddy and District Attorney Frank Parrish both passed way during the past week.

I was proud to know both of them.

I got to know David Twiddy a lot better beginning about a year ago.

This time last year I was knee-deep in the request for proposals process with Albemarle Hospital. It was a big story.

Albemarle Hospital and Pasquotank County were in search of a partnership with a larger health system, hoping to find a partner to enter into a long-term lease.

Since then, of course, the hospital and the county have selected Norfolk, Va.-based Sentara Health Care for the long-term patnership.

Last year, though, the process was just getting started.

Twiddy obviously was even more involved in the RFP process than I was. He not only was chairman of the hospital board but also was co-chairman of the RFP Task Force.

In the midst of all that, I ran into Twiddy at the 2012 Albemarle Craftsman’s Fair.

I was covering the craftman’s fair, but Twiddy and his wife, Rhonda, were browsing booths and just enjoying a relaxed Saturday.

Instead of running away when he saw me coming — a move that would have been very forgivable under the circumstances — Twiddy greeted me graciously and cheerfully.

Although I didn’t get anything on the record that day, he gave me a lot of good information on background about timetables and such. I found that material to be very helpful moving forward.

Rhonda Twiddy enjoyed a good laugh at the way we couldn’t say “hello” without ending up in a conversation about the hospital and the RFP process.

Frank Parrish always impressed me with his appetite for learning.

I frequently would see Parrish at the Albemarle Family YMCA. It provided me a nice opportunity to get to know him away from work-related concerns.

One of the things I learned about Parrish from these conversations was how important his faith was to him. He was very active at Christ Episcopal Church and was profoundly committed to the Episcopal Church, but he also knew a lot about other Christian denominations and was interested in learning about other faiths.

One day I mentioned my interest in the work of Robert Alter, a Jewish literary critic and biblical scholar, around issues of biblical inspiration and its relation to other notions of biblical inspiration.

Alter’s work is difficult to describe or explain to someone without a background in technical aspects of literary criticism and the intricacies of different theories of biblical inspiration.

Although Parrish’s formal education was in law, he immediately took an interest in Alter’s ideas and their potential for enhancing his understanding of issues related to biblical interpretation.

The conversation gave me an even greater appreciation for the depth of Parrish’s intellectual curiosity about the world.

He wanted to understand both the local community and the larger world as well as he could.

These were men of merit and I miss them both.