Whenever I sit down to write a memorial piece, I have to figure out why that’s happening in the first place. People die all the time. Their loved ones will remember the family memories, the children will remember the parents, the spouse will remember their partner. What makes someone worthy of being remembered in writing? We’ve written words for legends of motorsport who were instrumental in bringing this thing we all love to fruition. We remember personalities who in one way or another, have left their mark upon us for whatever reason, whether they were friend, fellow racer, business leader, the list goes on. It’s easy to look back on what they did…you re-hash what they were best known for, pick a few highlights, and put everything together in an respectable bit of writing that honors their life’s work.
Grant Imahara is a bit different. Unlike most, his achievements and work are only one facet of what the man was about. The other part, and the outstanding part of the man, was what he inspired others to do, to become. In a world that seems increasingly vapid, a world that’s laser-focused on money, fame, social status and the like, Imahara was one who still strongly pushed education. He did so through his work and his infectious energy that he explained everything with. Sure, on the surface, he built robots, worked with electrical components, or helped plan experiments in his most well-known role as a member of the build team on the popular show Mythbusters. It wasn’t the only thing he worked on…the White Rabbit Project, Battlebots, and his work behind the scenes at THX and Industrial Light and Magic for many films are just some of what he had his hands in.
He had fun with his job, but what was his job, exactly? Imahara was an electrical engineer. You know, one of those jobs that sounds like it makes money but is an absolute and utter drag in practice. The dude from Mythbusters, the guy who built robots that fought other robots, the guy who built Craig Ferguson’s robot sidekick, was an electrical technician. Do you know how many kids grew up watching this guy have a ball damn near every day at work? Tons. Adults too. He made that geeky stuff you rolled your eyes at in ninth-grade electives classes not only pay dividends but he had a ball of a time while working.
In the forty-nine years that Grant had on this planet, he made the most out of doing what he loved to do. That’s admirable, I don’t care who you are. But even more admirable is that in that same short timeframe, he influenced who knows how many into reaching above sports and Insta-fame and instead pursuing avenues much higher, much greater, and oddly enough, a hell of a lot more fun.
Thanks for the years of explosions and crashes, of robots and excitement. Rest easy, Grant.