Two deaths reported in the last couple of weeks touched me deeply.
It's one of those times in the seasons of life moments when memorial services and funerals are far more personal than births and weddings. Given my years, it likely is the season I will live in for as long as the good Lord gives me on this earth.
The touch points:
• A forwarded email from one of the first editors I worked forBarry Schraderthat reported that John Oliver (JO) had died at 93. John was an editor and columnist at the Livermore Herald &News (I cannot replicate the nuclear symbol that was in the center of the ampersand). Barry was the first editor that my boss reported to when I joined the Herald as a 17-year-old senior at Amador Valley High. As I progressed in my career (reporter, sports editor, city editor, managing editor) JO's responsibilities shifted as well. What did not was his characterkind, warm, sympathetic, principled. John retired from the Herald in 1985 when Floyd Sparks sold Sparks Newspapers (the Herald, the Argus in Fremont-Newark-Union City and the Daily Review in Hayward, Castro Valley and San Leandro) to what became MediaNews. I spent the next 21 years with MediaNews throughout personal career ups-and-downs while my friend John retired and unretired in southern Oregon. He worked in the news business for many years until he finally stepped back. What remained the same was JO. I was so blessed a couple of years ago to literally bump into John in downtown Pleasanton during the farmer's market. We were much older, but the warm, personal connectioncentered in Jesusremained.
• One of the blessings and the challenges of living in a community where you grew up and seeing it evolve over many years is aging with those who have been important to you. Reading about the deaths of teachers who spent their career in Pleasanton schools reminds me of my own mortality. That came home big time when I read about Rich Del Tredici passing on after a battle with bone cancer. Rich was my freshman English teacher at Amador Valley who went on to serve as a principal in Dublin before retiring. What characterized Richas a teacher and later as a casual friendwas his upbeat attitude and his encouragement. You were always happy to see Richhe lifted your mood. That was as true many, many years ago (my 40th high school reunion date has passed) as it was when we saw each other downtown last year.
Both Rich and John touched me and effected me throughout my life. May I continue to live out that positive legacy, centered in a God who loves all of us.