Right on, Josh.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012 we at Bristol Brewing Company lost a most worthy and beloved member of our family, Josh Osterhoudt. Josh was one of those people that, even when you met him for the first time, you felt like you somehow knew him already. Instantly warm, enthusiastically engaged, so quick with that one-of-a-kind laugh of his, Josh was pretty much on everyone’s list of favorite people.
All of which is why, when he came to us looking to spend out his working days on something he was passionate about, he was a natural fit. He was not, however, given the courtesy of a seamless transition. The position of General Manager at Bristol was essentially created for him, so there was absolutely no road map to follow. What’s more, it so happened that I was eight months pregnant and on bed rest with the third Bristol boy, so Josh’s new boss was needed at home even more than he was needed at the brewery.
Which left Josh, newly second-in-command, to fend for himself often. And fend he did, with the earnest good nature that made him always so willing and able. Some would call it trial by fire. We call it joining the family. And it worked, because Josh had something that doesn’t always come standard with a new employee: he understood the vision that drives Bristol Brewing.
Over the next eight and a half years, Josh continued to help push that vision forward with a gentle, steady hand, every move informed by his astounding ability to relate to people. To say that Josh was “good with people” is like saying the Pied Piper is “good with kids.” Josh understood human nature instinctively. Working for the brewery, this meant he was a master at smoothing out ruffled relationships, and opening doors we had thought were padlocked tight. And he was exceedingly deft at addressing the proverbial “sticky situation.”
Working within the brewery, this meant he rarely missed an opportunity to just talk. About how you were feeling, how things were going. Not with your job—but with you. And he never minded throwing in a hearty theological or philosophical discussion, either. Good for the soul.
Yes, Josh was good for the soul. Exceedingly easy to be with. No fuss, no drama. Infinitely ready with that laugh (no one will forget that laugh!). So at home in nature, on the bike. So devoted to his wife, Kristie. He seemed to exude an untroubled contentment with life and with whatever life handed him. I always hoped that was contagious.
It was Josh who taught my boys that it’s OK to have a water fight in the birdbath during Dad’s company meeting. It was Josh who gave me a key to the brewery. It is Josh who will be on our minds every time we raise a glass of Yellow Kite, his favorite.
And when we look up at his bike hanging in the brewery, we’ll remember not to lose sight of the vision. Right on, Josh. Right on.