Jim Flink was larger than life to me and so willing to help me when I first met him. I was graduating from UNC in 1996 and sealed his and Nancy's deck on what I think was the 17th hole over at Preston at the time. I told Jim I wanted to go into commercial real estate, and from that day forward I had one of best advocates you could ever have - and not just for a stint - but for my entire real estate career. He originally convinced his Goodman Segar Hogan Hoffler partners (Scott, Jerry, Neal and Roy) to hire me, coaching me on each of their personalities (say this...don't say this...and always KEEP THE FAITH). He mentored me, opened his home, and consistently argued for all that was positive in life - that never changed, personal or professional - always positive.
Jim was a model husband for me. He loved Nancy and there was never any doubt because they always did so much TOGETHER...so social, so committed, so excited to be living there adventure together. She was his rock...and he'd not ever shy away from telling anyone just that.
In the first ten years of my real estate career, I came to know Jim very well. What struck me, around the decade mark in our relationship, was the sudden awareness that I was but one of many people that Jim mentored, advocated for, or opened his home to. I began to meet more of them, from all walks of life, and soon understood this was one of Jim's true life gifts. He was like Mickey in the movie Rocky - he worked from the position of always being in your corner - no doubt, keep the faith (and he had countless other 'life boxers' he worked with). I'd learn from his other friends about someone he was taking on a trip or to a dinner or helping to get a job or helping them through some tragic circumstance. It was simply a part of his journey - he had the gifts to share, and share he did, with abundance.
His sense of humor was ever-present, even if he was laughing at himself. For some people, an uncontrollable belly laugh is a once a year thing. For Jim, this was undoubtedly a weekly occurrence. He always a had a joke. He always had a funny face. He always found a way to make even the most serious among us breakdown in laughter. He was a one-man icebreaker...
13 years later, I was able to hire Jim at my own boutique firm, knowing the immediate impact he'd make to our culture and the endless rolodex of people he knew that would inevitably help our company grow an investment division. And when I say rolodex, well, I mean a true rolodex of handwritten addresses and phone #'s (even in 2009)!! Jim accepted technology, but I am not sure he ever embraced technology! : )
I am eternally grateful to Jim for the doors he opened for me, the mentorship, and for always being in my corner. For those of you who are believers, rest assured Jim is in heaven - telling jokes, visiting friends and family that pre-deceased him, and looking for a good golf course. Jim's faith was unwavering. I am sad I was not able to say goodbye and tell him thank-you, but if I know Jim, he would not want anyone to be sad...he's too positive for that. I think Jim would ask two things of us: 1) to rally around Nancy, the love of his life - to lift her up as best we can; and 2) to try not to mourn him - but rather celebrate him. Of course as I type this, I hear his voice in my head say "they can mourn me a little!" followed by that boisterous Jim laugh. In that vein, I look forward to rallying for Nancy, and celebrating my corner man of nearly 3 decades. Jim, we love you and we will miss you! ❤️