On December 1st, just before midnight Charles S. Luck III passed away after 87 extraordinary years. As I knew him, Mr. Luck was the epitome of a Southern Gentlemen—he was thoughtful and serious and always asked after my family. He had such a gravity about him that I would never call him Charles and certainly not Charlie; he was always Mr. Luck in my eyes. In some ways, even after 25 years, I am always ready for Mr. Luck to step out of his office and ask me to trim around a fence or pick up trash in the parking lot.

Mr. Luck cared about people, and he cared about education, and he cared about opportunity. He and the company he shepherded for decades has left an incredible impact on me and my family. For my father, it meant his first solidly middle class job. For my brother, it meant a career cracking rocks and leading people. For me, it meant cobbling together scholarships to get my degree—four of which were from the Luck Stone Scholarship fund. As a kid living in a series of run down apartments in the Fan, every bit counted. When he put me to work over the summer, he gave me the chance to earn money for rent and gas to put in my beat up $500 dollar car. And fortunately, he was kind enough not to fire me when I ran over one of his prized black pines, or when I chewed up one of the last “We Care” signs with a lawn mower.

He and his wife, True, were the real deal—kind-hearted, compassionate, generous, and so very solid. These days, it seems like integrity is on the decline, yet Mr. Luck embodied honesty and being true to yourself. He modeled what he expected, and understood that we looked to him not for what he knew—which was quite a lot—but for who he was as a person. He made a difference, and I’m not sure he understood the path he helped to put people like me on, and how grateful we are to have known him. Every day that I have the privilege of leading InnerWill and helping others reach their potential, I know I am carrying some part of his legacy.

This holiday season is different for so many reasons than those past. But there is still so much to be grateful for and reason to celebrate. Here’s to Charles S. Luck III, and to the positive impact he made on this world. And here’s to all of you, and your commitment to making better people, braver leaders, and a wiser world. Happy Holidays!

To learn more about the extraordinary life of Charles S. Luck III, please visit Honoring C3.


Tom Epperson

Tom Epperson

Dr. Tom Epperson is the President of InnerWill, and an instructor in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Executive MBA program. Tom is a certified business coach and has a Doctorate in Leadership from The George Washington University. Tom works with clients on cultural transformation, leadership development, executive coaching, and igniting individual and organizational potential. Previously, Tom served as the HR Director for Luck Companies, and played a significant role as one of the architects of Luck Companies’ cultural transformation.

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