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Sun., Aug. 17, 2014

Nobbs shared with employees

Only Doug Clark could turn a tribute to Russ Nobbs (Aug. 10) into a story about Doug Clark. During his life, and now in death, much of Russ’ public persona is that of a radical hippie who stirred the pot. That is a caricature. There is so much more to Russ than that. Clark says the “vast amounts of money he made never changed him.” I was the accounting manager of Rings & Things for 17-plus years. Russ personally didn’t make vast amounts of money, his company did. Russ shared this largesse with his employees.

During Rings & Things’ phenomenal growth in the 1990s, our health benefits matched those of any large corporation. There were 75 employees when I quit. They made a livable wage and had a company-sponsored 401(k) plan. Russ was a husband, father, employer, friend and visionary. It was not all bravado with him. During conversations about the Vietnam War, Russ shed tears thinking he didn’t do enough to stop the war.

No, Russ Nobbs was so much more than a hippie. He was a man with an introspective soul who loved deeply, cared intensely, walked his talk, and most of all, was true to himself.

Karen Semerad