Les Paul (1915-2009)
Growing up in the 60's and 70's and learning to play guitar was what me and most of my friends did. We got into rock and roll and started seeing our guitar idols playing these thick black electric guitars known as Les Pauls. But alas, I was a lower middle class kid with nary two nickels to rub together and the dream of owning a Gibson Les Paul was indeed just that, a dream. (We were playing Teisco-DelRey and Sears Silvertone pieces of krap)
Fast forward to the mid 1980's; I was a medical resident in an internal medicine residency in Philadelphia. I had long ago smashed all my rock and roll albums and cut my hair when I got saved, but the dream of owning a Les Paul never faded. But I was so busy then, I barely had time to brush my teeth, much less play guitar. I came home on our anniversary(the wooden anniversary) and my late wife presented me with the above guitar. At the time, our combined income was going for a small mortgage and car insurance and food etc and a guitar was the last thing I thought we could afford. She knew I always wanted a Les Paul and a friend tipped her off to a desperate dental student who was cash-strapped but guitar-rich at the time. 350 dollars later, this almost new guitar was in my living room. At the time a brand new Les Paul Custom was worth three times that and now they are retailing for almost 9X that!
So here's to you Mr. Les Paul for making/inventing the electric guitar that has stood the test of time. My prayers are with you today.