Rod was a gift to many people. He ran winning campaigns for lots of candidates who probably wouldn’t have won without him…Two years ago, he had a cancerous brain tumor. He had surgery in August 2008; one hour after the brain surgery, he was on the cell phone doing business as usual. Rod quipped: “I can see the headlines now: ‘Shealy Survives Surgery; Dies of Boredom’.”That surgery removed the tumor – totally – and he was fine.At least for a while.Some time during the summer of 2009, he learned that the cancer was in his lungs.This year, we learned it was back in his brain.Rod had maintained a very positive and upbeat attitude. Sometimes he said things like, “The folks at the hospital like me ‘cause everybody else is sick.”I first ran for office in 1970; he helped me in that campaign and then ran every campaign of mine after that one. He ran my campaign for lieutenant governor in 1990; it’s was my first loss and I believe he took it harder than I did. …When I asked him several years ago if it was too late to throw my hat in the ring for a particular race, he replied, “Yep. By about 34 years.”Whether it was politics, family, or anything else, Rod enjoyed life to the fullest. He had a dry wit, a keen sense of humor and a heart of gold. He loved to play the guitar and sing. He loved being creative.Other than in the hospital bed, I can’t remember the last time I saw him without a bright floral Hawaiian shirt. That was one of his trademarks. In fact, he went to an inaugural ball; like others, he wore a tuxedo – but with the Hawaiian floral print bowtie and cummerbund, along with tennis shoes, I believe.