I met my friend Chip years ago when he contacted me out of the blue about speaking at a tea party in Quincy. I immediately thought he was crazy. He had so much energy and talked big. Most people have ideas about how to change the world, Chip actually did it. Without credit. From the inside. Behind the scenes. There exist legends about people whose hearts are so big that they give all for nothing and are satisfied in the shade. Chip was that person. He passed away this morning of a heart attack. He leaves behind a beautiful wife and daughter. Please pray for them.

Back in 2009, when people were threatening my family, when I was being followed from the grocery store over the Kenneth Gladney incident, when I thought for a moment about quitting it all, Chip called me up.

“No f*cking way,” he said, verbatim, in his trademark forthrightness. I borrowed from his strength. He and Andrew Breitbart, friends they were, saw us through that time. He arranged for security and self defense lessons. I learned better.

He was the strategist. His stories are legend. I’ve used that word twice now because that’s the only way I can describe the man, a friend of so many. Most people couldn’t fathom all that he contributed to our movement. They simply don’t know. They don’t know how many victories he helped win for conservatives. They don’t know how he pitched in with fundraising behind the scenes. How he worked to turn blue districts red. How he encouraged and supported the next generation of conservatives. He always answered his phone. He always had a plan. He always had advice, most often given in his fast pitch with a cigarette perched on his lip. He was a happy warrior and most of the people who hated him were confused as to whether he disliked or liked them, such was his penchant for humorous warfare. Chip was the glue that kept a lot of things and people together. He was the peacemaker. He was the biggest Bama fan I knew. He was a family man. He was a diabolical genius.

He met adversity with a fist, especially for his friends. There are only two people in this modern movement who were so steadfast in the face of it all, they are now both gone. Any time is always too soon for such a man. We saw him just this weekend. You never think a final goodbye is just that, but I’m glad we got one.

I imagine he’s now giving a big hug to Andrew. Keep his spirit going. Rolltide.

Also: Jim Hoft remembers.

A favorite Chip story: Last year he was “Chip Turd.” This year, he’s “Chip Terd.”

*Update: More remembrances:

RS McCain:

The first rule of Chip Gerdes was, nobody talked about Chip Gerdes. In a world of political fame-junkies, nobody was so deliberately anonymous as the man whose Twitter handle was @TookieW.

Rebel Pundit and Chip:

*UPDATE: Rep. Ann Wagner honored Chip from the floor of the House.