A heartfelt plea from an inventor’s family

By Larry Robertson, CEO | Inventors

Nov 14
a heartfelt plea from an inventor's family

I would much rather be sharing an upbeat post that might raise everyone’s spirit at a time when we could all probably use a boost in morale, but a heartfelt plea from an inventor’s family compelled me to share this, instead.

Late yesterday afternoon, I made a call that should have ended the week on a high note, by doing one of the most enjoyable things we ever get to do in our business – calling one of our inventor-clients to tell them that we have a company interested in licensing the rights to their invention (in this case, the shopping cart comfort cushion).

Instead of being greeted by the familiar, gregarious voice of Jack Gourley, his phone was answered by his daughter, Tina. I said, “Nice to meet you Tina, may I speak with your father? I have some really great news for him”. She took a deep breath and explained that her father had recently passed away from Covid. I was floored because I had talked with Jack not long ago and he was happy, energetic and excited about the possibilities for his invention. Tina said that even worse than losing her father, was seeing him struggle on a respirator for over a week before being told by doctors that her dad was not going to make it and having to make the gut-wrenching decision to turn off his life support and saying goodbye over a walkie-talkie, from outside his room, behind a plastic curtain …. (I can’t even imagine)

Tina encouraged me to share her story with others, in hopes that her experience might encourage us all to take this virus more seriously. Jack Gourley was a gregarious 74 year-old gentleman with the mental acumen and energy of someone half his age. He had built two successful businesses on a foundation of his love of people and service to his customers, but Jack couldn’t stand being cooped up and like many of us, wasn’t much of a fan of masks and social distancing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Tina, the entire Gourley family and Jack’s many friends who are sure to miss this very special man. May you rest in peace Jack Gourley.

About the Author

Larry is the CEO and co-founder of AON Invent. He has enjoyed a career that has spanned sales, marketing, and product innovation for companies that include subsidiaries of AMR/American Airlines, Learjet and Sam's Club. In 1995 he teamed up with Ron Loveless, the founding CEO of Sam's Club, to launch a marketing and product development firm that grossed $500 million in its first 3 years. Over the past 20+ years, Larry has personally vetted over 1,000 product concepts and marketing strategies.