We don’t always know the impact someone will have on our lives. That was the case with this man. “My name is Eugene Wyatt,” he said in a low, quiet voice. “I have a farm here in Goshen, and I raise the largest flock of Saxon Merino sheep in the United States.”

Those words led to a friendship of careful respect and mutual admiration. A few years later, he offered me a bale of his precious fibers, which led to the Great White Bale project, whose notes continue to play in my life.

Eugene came to sheep after running an art gallery in San Francisco and then running away to Paris. He married his sweetheart, a successful fashion designer, and they bought a farm outside of NY. He wanted cattle, she wanted wool, they settled on sheep.

Over the next decades, through an amicable divorce and move across the river, he established a flock of Saxon Merino sheep with extraordinary fibers and temperaments. He tended this flock with care, commitment, and creativity. Like the time he played a trombone in the woods to ward off coyotes.

The only thing he loved more than his flock was the written word. He was an avid reader and a devotee of Proust. He also loved music, fine art, and film. He was, in my eyes, the definitive renaissance man.

Eugene left this earth on Tuesday, May 28th. Rest in peace, my friend.