AF#6 - Aiming For Legacy Will Give You Better Days

It's not just about the end target, but how calibrating the end target helps you move along the way…here are two lessons I learned from my Grandfather by the way he is revered…

Get The Friday Art & Work Newsletter:

The full AMZN Fall Series here:

My grandfather, Stewart Warner Pach was a pretty successful executive in his day, eventually making his way up to President of Gillette, North America.

But I’m even more proud of the family legend around how he got canned - something about refusing to make the numbers look a certain way at the end of a quarter. A man of long-term cash flow thinking. Very Amazonian.

This was the heyday of consumer goods, he mastered an era based on a set of philosophies that extended beyond business into life.

I never had the opportunity to talk shop with him - he died unexpectedly from a heart attack following a hip surgery when I was in high school.

There are surprisingly few first person records of his wisdoms but I’ve benefited greatly from the life lessons I’ve received via the family lore.

Reflecting on it leads me to two conclusions that I want to share with you today.

Lesson #1

Make things every day where the audience in mind is your grandchildren.

I actually think my grandfather did this, maybe subconsciously. He passed his lessons to us indirectly – in the way he is revered, the family stories.

I say this because aiming at legacy changes the way you live.

It takes certain things off of a pedestal, like keeping up with the Jones’s and appearing good in meetings, and it puts more weight onto things that matter most - things like finding humor every day, having fun, helping, and making others look good.

Make stuff every day that can be put into a chest (literally or metaphorically) and one day handed to your kin.

Live everyday based on the things you would want to show and teach them.

This does not come at the expense of executing in the present. It comes at the expense of the frivolous (and hopefully the boring).

I don’t have a specific prescription for what these things are you should make. Whether physical or indirect, only you can know that for yourself.

Lesson #2

No matter how great the things you make and achieve, they will all be trumped by one thing: the way in which you achieved them.

Remember this:

“They won’t remember what you said. They won’t remember what you did. They’ll remember the way you made them feel.” – Origin Unknown

Long after the memory of the tactical accomplishments you’re given credit for dissipate to the sands of time this is what you will leave behind. Perpetuating good feelings of positivity, optimism, and hope.

That’s what your ancestors will pay forward.

That’s the chain of humanity we get to participate in

Three Messages From The Past

Lucky for all of us :) I do have 3 distinct messages to share today that come straight from the horse’s mouth.

These have been repeated to me many times by family and even more within my own head:

“A dollar is a vote.”

“If there’s any doubt, there’s no doubt.”

- and -

“Some people get A’s in school and some people get A’s after school.”

You can bet your *ss those are going in the chest.

Stewart Warner Pach

Pilot, Parent, Painter, Partner


Some of the most direct messages he left were perhaps his collection of paintings from when he took up art in his retirement.

This one I believe is a bird eye view of the city of Chicago…Tokyo?

Ok, had to go run and check. Nevada City. Hey, I’ve never flown over Nevada City, ok?


He wanted a simple headstone with his name and the words "Pilot, Parent, Painter."

Warner died April 14, 1999, in Boston of a heart attack following a hip operation. He lived in Dover, Mass., and was raised in Bronxville, N.Y. During his life he was called "Warner," "Stu," and "Pete."

He was an Eagle Scout and graduated from Exeter, where he captained the swimming team. He graduated from Princeton as a mechanical engineer and flew P-38s during WWII on photo reconnaissance missions in Europe.

He had a distinguished business career as pres. of Papermate, pres. of Gillette's safety razor division, and pres. and CEO of American Optical.

In retirement he served a rich and meaningful life. He painted, exhibited, and sold his works. He was an avid student of languages and taught English as a second language to immigrants who spoke French, Spanish, or German.

His son, Peter, said, "He had a childlike sense of life. He possessed a wonder of learning and exploring. The light of a new spring morning sparkles on the wake of a duck crossing our pond, and though our hearts are heavy, we see its richness because he was here."

To his widow, Constance Barnard Pach, children Sandra, Nicolette, and Peter, and six grandchildren, the class extends its warmest feelings.

The Class of 1942


See also:

Have some thoughts? Feel free to drop a comment or hit me up:

Other Posts In The AMZN Fall Series