R. L. Ryburn
Address by R. L. Ryburn
From The Forest City Courier, June 29, 1922
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: It gives me a great deal of pleasure indeed to be here on this occasion, to pay my small tribute to the memory of the man who was both my client and my friend. Both of these relations began many years ago when this Cliffside enterprise was in its very inception, and I am very glad to say that the relationships continued from that time down to the day when they were suddenly broken by his death.
It is needless for me to say I prized him in both of these relationships, but I can say truthfully to you, I prized him most for his friendship. There are some men who have but few friends, and yet they have the faculty of keeping them all to themselves, and there are others who bind their friends to them with hooks of steel. Now, Mr. Haynes had more than the average share of this character, of strong friendships, putting his friendship here and there. He was a friend of many men and many men were his friends. Indeed, I might say he seemed to have a positive genius for friendships. Of course, I came in touch with him more largely in a professional way than the other side, and therefore it was not my privilege to know him from his every side as it was doubtless of many of you who are here tonight. But this is not the occasion, nor would my time permit me, to give even a comprehensible estimate of the man from those sides of his life in which I knew him. Therefore, I shall content myself to say one or two words about him.
Continuing the line of thought with which I began, I never knew a man in private life who had such a wide circle of friends as did Mr. Haynes and I believe that was due to the fact that he had a profound interest in his fellow men. He was a genuine lover of man. I recall an incident which impressed me greatly at the time. A few years before his death, he accompanied me, my wife and our little niece over from Asheville to Waynesville and to Eagle’s Nest to spend the day; that afternoon as we were returning home, all of us tired from our day’s enjoyment, we came to the little village of Canton, and as we were nearing the village Mr. Haynes said: “I have a kinsman (or a kinswoman–I have forgotten which) living here whom I have never seen and I also have a former employee here, and if you all would not mind about the delay, I would like to stop and see them for a little while,” and this he did; and I have seen over and over again this very same characteristic in him. He was never too tired, never too busy, he was never too proud and never too big to renew the common touch with his fellow men, and it was because men recognized in him these characteristics, they knew he was the genuine and true article, and their spirits rose instinctively to meet his spirit and I believe that was the secret of his wide circle of friends.
Then, to go back, of course, Mr. Haynes was a man of great business ability; but notwithstanding his hard-headed business capacity, there was something about him finer than that; he was a dreamer of dreams and a man who had large visions. I recall in the very earliest days of Cliffside an action had been instituted, which if it had been successful, would have killed this dream; and in the preparation of this action he told me if his plans materialized this development meant the expenditure of two million dollars or more. When Cliffside was unattractive hillsides and covered with undergrowth and uninviting to everybody else, this man by clear vision saw what it was to become. Now, the man who dreams dreams and simply ends there in the dreaming is absolutely of less use than the man who does not dream at all; but this man had the faculty of making his dreams come true; by the tenacity of his purpose, by his faith, by his capability, by his dogged perseverance, he brought his dreams to a full realization.
Another thing I learned about him: I have known a few men who were business geniuses, and who seemed to make quick decisions instinctively, which were usually right. Now, I had a theory that Mr. Haynes was a man of this type; but I must confess to you, except in one instance so far as my experience is concerned, I had no proof of the correctness of this theory. On the other hand, so far as my experience and observations of him were concerned, he did not reach quick decisions. He turned a question over and over again. He viewed it from every angle; he gave it consideration from every view point, and when he reached a conclusion it was done after the most exhaustive consideration of the question from every side. So, it was not unnatural, therefore, given a man with fine common sense and especially good business judgment, and this profound consideration to the business problems which confronted him. I say it was not unnatural that he should rarely have made a mistake.
He was a loyal friend; he was a citizen of the highest type; he was a worthy father; he was a great constructive builder; he had in all that a profound interest in everything that went for the material and moral and spiritual uplift of his people, and the best thing that can be said about him is he left the world better in which he had lived. This building, as has been said, no finer tribute to his memory could be given; that is evidence of the fact that notwithstanding he has gone, his spirit is still marching on in this community, and these buildings are simply the dreams of his that have come true since he has been called away.
Reprinted with permission from The Daily Courier. Copyright owned by The Daily Courier.