Time passes on, and so do friends.

I interviewed Perry Pietig last week for a story in the Progress section. He talked about serving customers of his grandparents’ and parents’ generation, along with his own — the baby-boomers, on to their children and grandchildren. It’s a sign of time — time passing, that is.

I’m thinking about this because of the death of Jim Broich. One of my first thoughts was of Judy Beech. When Judy died, almost three years ago, I wrote that Sleepy Eye had lost its best friend. Now I feel like we’ve lost our other best friend.

Judy and Jim have figured into my interest in Sleepy Eye — the businesses, government, economic development, recreation opportunities and more — ever since I worked for the chamber of commerce in the 1990s.

I wanted that job because I’d had my eye on Judy as she created the position as the first paid employee of the chamber.

During the years I was with the chamber, Jim was on the city council and devoted so much time to economic development activities that it should have been a paid position. The EDA was a fairly newly created commission for the city, growing out of the city’s achievement of Star City status, a state designation conferred on cities that went through a long and thorough process of examining city needs and creating an economic development plan.

While the members of that EDA board were dedicated and well-informed, Jim was the face (and legs) of the EDA. He was out and about, tracking down leads, attending conferences, talking about Sleepy Eye everywhere he went. When Jim was elected Mayor, he had to leave the EDA board. I think he was pretty disappointed, but it turned out he could still serve the community in the same way, talking about Sleepy Eye, tracking down leads and learning more, all the time.

Time passes, and the next generation always steps up. There is a lot of good energy in Sleepy Eye, from people of several generations, and that’s a good thing.

Many people imagine their loved ones in heaven, carrying on with their favorite activities. I think Judy probably got Jim signed up on some committee already. Maybe the former-former Mayor Harry Hornbrook is on the committee. I’ll bet Richard Mathiowetz is urging them to repave the golden roads. Sleepy Eye sure has had a lot of good friends.