Rob Berkley left this earth in December 2019 as a result of cancer. 58. Rob was THE most empathic and warm-hearted individual in the entire marketing space (I’m not exaggerating). When you would sit down with him you would feel his warmth focusing on you like an infrared heat lamp. He was one of my most valuable business advisors. Being trained by him and Victor Cheng was like having Oprah and Stephen Hawking together in the same room.
Stormy weather nearly prevented me from making his memorial at Martha’s Vineyard, but I managed to snag the boat ride and I’ll never forget the December 18 solstice sun streaming through the windows at his somber yet joyful gathering.
The other thing I will never forget is meeting his wife Debbie for the first time, right there at his memorial service. I had heard much about her, and she had heard about me, but we had never crossed paths.
I approached her in their kitchen and introduced myself. “Perry! I am so delighted to meet you!” She faced me squarely, looked deep into my eyes, and connected, human to human. I instantly felt the jolt of her conviction and aliveness. She wrapped her arms around me, embraced me, and welcomed me as though I were a friend of 25 years. Her energy was so palpable I was momentarily startled.
It only makes sense that Rob would marry a woman like Debbie.
Today I would like to share Rob’s last interview with you: a very candid conversation between Rob, Debbie, and their caregiver and collaborator Meredith, describing humility and courage in the face of a terminal diagnosis.