Nearly 10 years ago, I jumped feet first into the stained glass industry's large associations and their conferences. It was time to reconnect with the "big picture" of glass, get out of my local mind set and find new relevance for an age old art form that had started to experience decline.
I may not have found the answers to the questions I carried, however I did make some wonderful friends and a myriad of exquisite contacts. Jean Jacques Duval, Helmut Schardt and Nick Parrendo quickly come to mind. So the news of Nick's death hit me extremely hard.
I suppose it is irrational to become so sad over someone who wasn't more than an acquaintance. Our glass community is small and the truly gentle and soulful hearts are a gift, so when they are gone, the void is palpable. Anya Sostek wrote a lovely and informative obituary for Mr Parrendo in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, which I copied and pasted below, which I hope you take the time to read.
My experience of Nick was of his sweetness and passion. He carried grace with him always and was so generous in action and word. He showed me it was possible to carry spiritual conviction daily, in everything he did and tune out the dark noise of commercial avarice, simply to do good work.
In an industry fighting for survival and modern relevance, we are in the dilemma of recognizing and praising our brothers and sisters in a very small niche, while desperately trying to out bid the other for the ever shrinking work pool. This tension cannot be resolved without recognizing it. Nor will it mend by constant division. Nick's open heart and deep love for his work and his community was a light often seen for what it was, though it may not have been embraced for what it could have offered us, in healing.
I also note what his death coincides with - the Orthodox and Catholic Church's centuries long division started with humble meetings this last week. Spiritual reconciliation. Even in Mr Parrendo's death he is still teaching us that love is all around us and that even the deepest wounds can be healed.
I am grateful to have known him, ever so briefly. He will be missed.