I am saddened to report that on Saturday January 4, 2020 my (our) good friend Don Hare passed away peacefully after a brief illness. When I heard the news, my heart broke. For those of us in the FDA or in the drug industry, he stood as a man among men and will be sorely missed by all that knew him. Our love to his entire family.
For those of you who did not personally know Don, he was an icon at the FDA. He knew more about the Agency than anyone I have ever known and shared his vast experience as a teacher to both FDAers and industry folk alike. He was a major mentor of mine during my tenure at FDA and a great resource for anything FDA-related. I am grateful for all that he taught me.
Whether it was the Agency’s workings, history, past precedent, or policy, Don had it cataloged in his memory. If you would ask Don a question or needed to know something about an FDA issue he either knew it from the top of his head, or he would dig back into one of his boxes or his infamous file cabinets and come up with a document that addressed the situation. I know that all of Don’s papers, memos and notes were carefully digitalized when he left the Agency – it was a Don download of sorts. The man was not only a walking FDA encyclopedia, but was also the kindest man I have ever known. He would take whatever time you needed to address a problem, whether it was work related or personal. If you needed something, Don was there.
Don was a devout Mormon and I can remember a time in my early career that there was a BYU basketball game on a TV channel he could not receive on his service, so I invited him to come over to my house. He came bearing a 5-pound can of beans and a 10-pound bag of flour. Not to eat that night of course, but from his store of his year’s supply of food to share. We laughed and watched the game with him telling me stories about the players, his daughters and his wife, and people we both knew. I will remember that night for the rest of my life.
If you did not know Don, you truly missed out on a great opportunity to meet a man that would give you the shirt off of his back, give you the all the time you needed, and a man with the love and gusto of life that he shared with all. Our love to his entire family. Don we all loved you, may you rest in peace.