I first met you back in 2005 when I hired in at the Independent as a proofreader. I think the fact that you saw the value in having proofreaders on staff spoke volumes about your integrity as a newspaperman. I learned so much about newspaper writing and reporting just from spending all of these years reading your articles. When I started writing for you and covering events, I learned even more.
Although you were very private about many things, you were very generous with your storytelling about the area and the people that live here. I think you would be pleased to see how many people have expressed dismay at your loss but also a bit embarrassed that your passing was noted by so many. You were the consummate reporter, wanting and needing to be present FOR the news, but not BE news. Your breadth of knowledge of the Shiawassee County area was unmatched and is a huge loss for the community.
It seems strange to be in the office and not have you there. You were always bringing food into the office, usually tempting baked goods from local stores, making sure any leftovers were taken home on the weekends. And even though I don’t personally like sauerkraut, I now associate the smell of it with you from the huge crock pots that you would bring in on potluck days. You were always so thoughtful – warning us about weather systems, letting us know when you were leaving the building and always making sure to lock the door behind you.
Even though I found your emails frustrating at times, with only information written in the subject line or just asking me to call you (why did you not just call me?), I will miss receiving them. I didn’t know that the email you sent on the morning of your death would be the last. I will miss your soft-spoken stories and your kind and generous heart. It just won’t be the same without you. We will all carry on in your footsteps as we know you would want us to and hope that you are proud of the work we put out.
Independent Staff Writer
Note: Bill Constine was the editor of the Independent. He died Monday,