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"Greg" Lewis Dies, "Wrote From His Soul"

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sun Sentinel Writer, 57, Was "Strictly Old School"

Luis Zaragoza, Reporter and Editor, Found Dead at 47

Essence's Michelle Ebanks Adds Role at People en Español

Sun Sentinel Writer, 57, Was "Strictly Old School"

Richard Gregory "Greg" Lewis, the self-described "strictly old school" newspaper journalist who worked at the South Florida Sun Sentinel and earlier at the San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle, died Tuesday at Memorial Hospital West in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 57.

He died from complications of prostate cancer, said his friend Douglas C. Lyons, senior editorial writer at the Sun Sentinel.

"Mr. Lewis' passion was day-to-day life in the black community, which he eagerly mined for narrative gems," Mike Clary wrote Tuesday on the Sun Sentinel website. "He wrote about women's book clubs, the controversy over ebonics, and Double Dutch jump rope teams. He wrote the obituary of a man who left 379 grandchildren when he died at 98.

" 'Greg wrote from his soul,' said Noreen Marcus, his longtime editor at the Sun Sentinel. 'He wanted to educate, to bear witness, and he succeeded.' "

In the early 1980s, Lewis worked at the Maynard Institute. "He placed scores of people in jobs across the country" via the Institute's JobNet service, recalled Dori J. Maynard, president of the Institute. "He was a good journalist and a better friend. He will be sorely missed both personally and professionally."

"Born in 1954 at Fort Knox, Ky., Mr. Lewis grew up an Army brat as he and his mother Della followed his father Richard Venton Lewis to posts around the U.S. and in Germany. When his father died in 1966, he, his mother and a younger sister were living in Thomasville, N.C.," Clary wrote.

" . . Other stops in his 30-year career included Washington, D.C., Berkeley, Calif., where he worked for the Robert C. Maynard Institute of Journalism Education, and Greensboro, N.C., where he taught at North Carolina A&T while working as a reporter at the News & Record.

". . . At the San Francisco Examiner in the 1990s, Mr. Lewis also covered the minority community.

" 'He was known as the mayor of the newsroom,' recalled Sharon Rosenhause, a colleague in San Francisco and at the Sun Sentinel, where she was managing editor. 'He would work the room like a politician, getting to know everyone's story, what they were working on.'"

In 2007, he started a blog at the SunSentinel, "Strictly Old School: Gregory Lewis on Black Culture and Politics."

He described himself on the blog this way: "Gregory Lewis has worked in newspapers since 1976. He attended both segregated and integrated schools, back when a parent's word was law and neighborhood men made sure kids didn't get lost in the streets.

"His blog is where R&B meets rap; red Kool-Aid meets Red Bull; P.F. Flyers meet Air Jordans. Where old school meets new school."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Though all men are at risk, African American men have higher rates of getting and dying from prostate cancer than men of other racial or ethnic groups [PDF] in the United States. Scientists do not know why it is more common in African American men than in others. They are studying possible reasons, including culture, environment, and differences in the biology of the disease in African American men.

". . . When compared to all causes of death, prostate cancer is the fourth leading cause of death among African American men over age 45."

Clary wrote, "During the two years he suffered from cancer along with chronic diabetes, 'Greg never lost his fighting spirit,' said Chandra, his wife of 32 years. 'He was a spiritual man, with a strong faith in God that never wavered.' "

A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Benedict's Episcopal Church, 7801 NW Fifth St., Plantation, Fla.

Luis Zaragoza, Reporter and Editor, Found Dead at 47

Luis ZaragozaLuis Zaragoza,who covered higher education for the Orlando Sentinel before leaving in November to work as a senior writer for Orlando's Valencia Community College, was found dead Thursday at his Winter Park, Fla., home.

He was 47, Susan Jacobson reported Tuesday in the Sentinel. The cause of death has not been determined, she wrote.

"During nearly four years at the Sentinel, Zaragoza wrote exposés, but he preferred to focus on articles that helped students, said Sal Recchi, the newspaper's education editor.

" 'Luis was a gentle, caring person who worked hard to achieve fairness in every story he wrote,' Recchi said.

". . . Zaragoza wrote for the Orange County Register until 1990, then moved to the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, where he eventually became managing editor of the Pasadena Star-News and regional editor of the group. In 1996, he jumped to the Los Angeles Times Syndicate as an editor and copy chief.

"After a brief stint as assistant metro editor of The Fresno Bee, Zaragoza in 2000 joined the San Jose Mercury News. In 2004, he became an education reporter. He also wrote a weekly column for the food and wine section."

In Jacobson's obituary, Akili Ramsess, an Orlando Sentinel photo editor who met Zaragoza at the Mercury News, said, "He was one of the genuinely nicest people I've ever known. He was an extremely loyal and good friend."

". . . Sara Neufeld, 32, worked for Zaragoza when she was a cub reporter covering education at the Mercury News," Jacobson continued.

" 'We really bonded over our love for kids and just wanted to see that kids get a fair shake in life,' said Neufeld, who now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. 'He was so passionate about the stories and the work that we did.'

"Outside the newspaper bureau in Palo Alto, Neufeld and Zaragoza befriended a homeless man. Zaragoza was never too tired, even after a 12-hour day, to exchange kind words with him just as he would with any friend, Neufeld recalled."

Essence's Michelle Ebanks Adds Role at People en Español

Michelle Ebanks Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence Communications Inc., has been named to the additional post of president, People en Español, Paul Caine, Time Inc. chief revenue officer, announced on Tuesday. Her appointment is effective immediately.

"In this new role, Ebanks will continue to serve as President of Essence Communications and assume the added responsibility of President of People en Español; tasked with advancing Time Inc.’s businesses within these important multicultural segments," an announcement said.

"A 15-year veteran of Time Inc., Ebanks directed the acquisition and development of ESSENCE, which has become one of the world’s top media companies serving the African-American audience. Under her leadership, ESSENCE magazine has consistently increased its share of market versus its competitors and has flourished via innovative brand extensions, such as Essence.com (a joint venture with the Warner Bros Television Group) and the Essence Music Festival, one of the largest annual cultural and entertainment events in the world attracting more than 400,000 attendees to New Orleans during July fourth weekend.

"Ebanks joined ESSENCE in March 2001 as group publisher. Prior to joining Essence, Ebanks was a vice-president in Time Inc.’s corporate division. She was previously the general manager and financial director for Time Inc.’s Money magazine and also served as corporate business manager for Condé Nast’s 13 titles."

The position of People en Español president is a new one, Essence spokeswoman Dana Baxter told Journal-isms. The former publisher was Lucia Ballas-Traynor, who left to co-found “Mamas Latina,” a site that is part of Café Moms. Monique Manso, formerly vice president of sales for Time Inc., has been appointed publisher.

CNN's Don Lemon Discloses He Is Gay

May 16, 2011

"My Livelihood Is on the Line," Weekend Anchor Says

Johnathan Rodgers, Founding CEO of TV One, to Retire

Trump Says He's Not Running for President After All

"I Shot Eight Frames a Second, and I Just Kept Firing"

McClatchy Names Rufus M. Friday Publisher in Lexington

Ricardo Pimentel Starts as Columnist in San Antonio

K.C. Star Starts Series on Civil War's "Real Flashpoint"

Heat-Bulls Matchup Draws 11.1 Million Cable Viewers

Short Takes

In September, Don Lemon, left, urged John Campbell III, Gabrielle A. Richardson and Gary A. Foster Jr., supporters of Bishop Eddie Long, to keep an open mind about the sexual allegations against Long.

"My Livelihood Is on the Line," Weekend Anchor Says

Eight months after disclosing on CNN that he was "a victim of a pedophile," CNN weekend anchor Don Lemon told NPR on Monday that he is gay.

"Do I want to be 'the gay anchor'?" Lemon asked NPR's David Folkenflik.

"He said his mentors and agents challenged him to consider whether he was willing to wear that label throughout his career," Folkenflik reported.

" 'And I'd have to say, at this point, why the hell not?'

"American society has changed greatly in recent decades and the face of television news has changed a lot with it. Two women now occupy the nation's three network evening news anchor chairs, and the country's racial and ethnic diversity is reflected on the air as well. Yet Lemon says that change has not extended to sexual orientation — at least, not publicly.

" 'We live and die by people watching us,' Lemon said. 'If I give people another reason not to watch me, that is a concern for me and that's a concern for whoever I am working for.

" 'My livelihood is on the line,' he said, 'I don't know if people are going to accept me; if I will have a job. I don't know how people will feel about this.'

"Colleagues at work know about his four-year relationship with his boyfriend, a CNN producer. But until now, Lemon has been extremely guarded with the public. He said he was told that anchors do not talk about such things."

Lemon, 45, told Journal-isms there was no relationship between the childhood abuse and his sexuality.

"No correlation between abuse and gay. None at all. Not sure why minds would go there. Most abusers are heterosexual and chose children of the opposite sex," he said by email.

Asked whether he had a message for other journalists or journalists of color in particular, he said:

"I'd like other journalists to know they can be free to be who they are; gay, straight, black, white, woman or man. We are all 'people' who just happen to have journalist as a title.

"Journalists of color are well aware of the sometimes rocky path towards equality. So, I suspect they relate to their gay colleagues in a BIG way. If not, they should."

Lemon said in a separate statement that he was "born gay."

"There was a time when I was terrified of revealing these things to the person I love most in this world – my own mother. But when I finally mustered the courage to tell her that I had been molested as a child and that I was born gay, my life began to change in positive ways that I never imagined possible," he said.

Bill Carter, writing in the New York Times, saw a different way the two disclosures were related. ". . . He knows enough about news to recognize what will get this book noticed.

" 'People are going to say: "Oh, he was molested as a kid and now he is coming out." I get it,' he said."

Lemon made the earlier disclosure in the course of interviewing young congregants at the Atlanta area megachurch pastored by Bishop Eddie Long. He said on a live, Saturday night newscast in September, "I am a victim of a pedophile.

"Let me tell you what got my attention about this and I have never admitted this on television. I'm a victim of a pedophile when I was a kid. Someone who was much older than me, and those are the things that they do," Lemon told the three congregants, who had been unwavering in their support of the bishop during the interview.

"Four people have come up with the exact same stories," Lemon told them. "That's what pedophiles do. The language, 'this isn't going to make you gay if you do this.' " The Long case is scheduled for trial this summer.

Folkenflik said that Lemon spoke with NPR, with CNN's approval, in anticipation of the release of his memoir, "Transparent," later this spring.

". . . Just two openly gay people hold prominent on-air roles in network or cable news at the national level. Both work at MSNBC: opinion host Rachel Maddow, who arrived at the cable news channel via liberal talk radio, and daytime anchor Thomas Roberts, who came out in 2006." Neither is African American.

Carter reported, " 'It’s quite different for an African-American male,' he said. 'It’s about the worst thing you can be in black culture. You’re taught you have to be a man; you have to be masculine. In the black community they think you can pray the gay away.' He said he believed the negative reaction to male homosexuality had to do with the history of discrimination that still affects many black Americans, as well as the attitudes of some black women.

" 'You’re afraid that black women will say the same things they do about how black men should be dating black women.' He added, 'I guess this makes me a double minority now.' "

Folkenflik added, "Most people would think if you're the prime news anchor, then you should sort of be this Edward R. Murrow, Clark Kent guy with the family and 2.5 kids — or the perky cute, yet smart Katie Couric," Lemon said. "Anyone would have to be naive to think that it wouldn't make a difference," Lemon said.

Johnathan Rodgers accepted a Hall of Fame honor from Broadcasting & Cable in 2009. (Video)

Johnathan Rodgers, Founding CEO of TV One, to Retire

Johnathan Rodgers, first and only CEO of TV One, is retiring on July 31 after 45 years in the media business, TV One announced on Monday.

"Under his leadership the last seven years, TV One, an award-winning cable network available in 53 million homes, has become recognized as the quality programming alternative for African American adults," the announcement said.

"The network, profitable after only five years, also set successive viewership records over the past three television seasons. TV One has won multiple NAACP Image Awards and was recognized with the National Association of Black Journalists’ Best Practices Award in 2009 for its coverage of the Democratic convention and election night in 2008."

Rodgers turned 65 on Jan. 18. When he accepted a 2009 Hall of Fame honor from Broadcasting & Cable magazine, he recalled that he and his childhood friends would discuss the lack of African American images on television. "I decided to devote my life to gently bringing change to our industry while maximizing change in our society," he said then.

"Running TV One has been an honor, a privilege and a labor of love for me,” Rodgers said in a release.

"I was able to bring all my experiences from my previous jobs to help create this wonderful network. I want to thank Brian Roberts and Comcast for their support, and especially Alfred Liggins for his vision in creating and funding TV One and for allowing me to run it for the past seven years. There could have been no better way to cap off a long and satisfying career in the television business for me than to help build a sustainable channel that African American adults, indeed all Americans can be very proud of."

TV One is owned by Radio One and Comcast Corp. and was created to appeal to an older audience than that of Black Entertainment Television. It has never had a news department — Rodgers has said that would be too expensive — but the network did cover President Obama's inauguration and the Democratic National Convention that nominated him, and it launched "Washington Watch With Roland Martin," a Sunday public affairs show taped on Fridays.

Liggins, chairman and Radio One president and CEO, said in the release, "When I realized that there was a business opportunity for launching a black cable channel nearly a decade ago, Quincy Jones told me there was only one person I should pursue to develop the channel, and that was Johnathan Rodgers. That was great advice, and Johnathan’s involvement in TV One has been invaluable in its success on so many different levels. He is leaving the network on very solid footing for the future."

The release continued, "Educated as a journalist at the University of California at Berkeley, Rodgers began his career as a writer-reporter for Sports Illustrated in 1967 and in the succeeding years worked for NBC and CBS as a television writer, reporter and producer. After moving into media management, Rodgers eventually became an Executive Producer at CBS News and later the President of the CBS Television Stations group. In 1996, he joined the cable industry when he went to Discovery Communications as the President of the U.S. Networks group. While at Discovery, he oversaw the conversion of The Learning Channel into TLC and the successful launches of Animal Planet."

Asked about Rodgers' successor, Lynn McReynolds, spokeswoman for TV One, told Journal-isms, "Alfred is likely to make an announcement on that within the next couple of weeks, but definitely before Johnathan leaves."

Trump Says He's Not Running for President After All

"One day after NBC said they would fire him if he ran for president, '[The] Celebrity Apprentice' star Donald Trump admitted he liked talking about political issues more than enacting them, telling an audience of advertisers in New York Monday he would not seek the GOP nomination," Eric Deggans wrote Monday for his St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times media blog.

"It was a predictable end to an unlikely media frenzy, as Trump saw increasingly heated questions about his views on the president's citizenship and education, along with demands for details on his finances and an announcement by NBC that they would hire a new boss for the 'Apprentice' if he kept flirting with a candidacy.

". . . The question left for media: Would any of this had consumed so much of the national dialog if reporters had treated Trump like a frizzy haired publicity hound from the beginning?"

 

Calvin Knight, director of photography at the Ledger in Lakeland, Fla., won a Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists for this photo showing Lakeland police Officer Scott Kercher ordering shooting suspect Derrick D. Robinson to come out of a trash bin.

"I Shot Eight Frames a Second, and I Just Kept Firing"

Calvin KnightOn the day he shot his winning photo, Calvin Knight, director of photography at the Ledger in Lakeland, Fla., "grabbed a portable scanner and bolted out the door, following bits of information police exchanged on the scanner. A pursuit. A chase. A black Taurus," the Ledger recalled last week.

"He headed west, crisscrossing the streets he's so familiar with. Before long, he found the spot where the Taurus had flipped. He jumped out of his car and shot a couple of photos with a 300 mm lens. With no police around, he figured they were chasing the suspect on foot. So he headed in the opposite direction from which he came — and found police gathering near railroad tracks. Someone told him one suspect had been arrested, but another was on the loose.

"Ten police cars and several K-9 units were searching the area when one officer ran toward a small trash bin with his gun drawn. 'He starts yelling, "Get out with your hands up," and I could see the guy peeking out of it,' Knight said.

"From about 30 yards away, Knight had hit photographic pay dirt. 'I hit the motor drive and lined him up. I shot eight frames a second, and I just kept firing,' Knight said. The result: A stunning sequence of photographs depicting a clearly terrified, ready-to-surrender young man as he emerged from his hiding place. The slender 19-year-old didn't dally when told to get out.

" 'Some photographers wait their entire lives for opportunities like this, and if it hadn't been for Calvin's ability to work and listen to the scanner at the same time, he would have missed his five minutes of fame,' said Ledger Managing Editor Lenore Devore. . . .

"Knight, 50, joined The Ledger as a staff photographer in 1985, then worked his way up to assistant director before being named director of photography in 2006."

The suspect was charged with robbery with a firearm, but was released within a month because of an "uncooperative victim," Chip Thullbery, a spokesman for the state attorney's office, told Journal-isms on Monday.

"Surrender" won in the breaking news photography category for newspapers with a 50,001-100,000 circulation or online independent publications. Here is the complete list of winners.

McClatchy Names Rufus M. Friday Publisher in Lexington

Rufus M. Friday, president and publisher of the Tri-City Herald in eastern Washington state, has been named publisher and president of the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, effective June 6, the McClatchy Co. has announced.

Rufus M. Friday"Friday, 50, became president and publisher of McClatchy's Tri-City Herald in 2005. He arrived there from another McClatchy newspaper, The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., where he served two years as vice president of circulation. Friday spent the previous 11 years, from 1992 to 2003, with Gannett Co., Inc., directing circulation for newspapers in Tennessee, Illinois and Alabama," the announcement said.

"Friday was born in South Carolina and raised in Gastonia, N.C. He attended North Carolina State University, earning a football scholarship his sophomore year and playing three years as a tight end for the university. He graduated in 1984 with a degree in business management and economics and went to work for The News & Observer's circulation department, where he spent the next eight years before moving to Gannett."

"Rufus has undertaken many assignments for McClatchy and has been hugely successful in every one," said Frank Whittaker, McClatchy vice president, operations, in the release. "As evidenced by his most recent service as publisher of the Tri-City Herald, Rufus cares deeply about his employees, his paper and the community. We're confident he’ll be an excellent fit for the Herald-Leader."

In another business-side promotion for a McClatchy person of color, Kim Woods, advertising director at the Rock Hill (S.C.) Herald since 2007, was named vice president of advertising for the Bradenton (Fla.) Herald.

Ricardo Pimentel Starts as Columnist in San Antonio

O. Ricardo Pimentel, former editorial page editor and columnist at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Arizona Republic, wrote his first column over the weekend as the new three-times-a-week columnist for the San Antonio Express-News.

O. Ricardo Pimentel In his farewell column May 3 in Milwaukee, Pimentel warned, ". . . if Wisconsin does not fix its urban areas and particularly its systems for educating the youth living in them, it will cease to be great. It will have no claim to the description at all.

"It will be just another state that has allowed its seed corn to go unplanted and its potential untapped, even if glimmers of progress burst forth from time to time in more affluent parts of the state."

Pimentel told Journal-isms, "In January, at my request, I stepped down as editorial page editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and became a full-time columnist. San Antonio came calling because they wanted another metro columnist. It very much appealed to me. As the column says, it very much feels like home."

One reason for that feeling, Pimentel told San Antonio readers, is that he is the son of once-illegal immigrants.

"The point isn't that I will be writing exclusively about immigration or immigrants. I won't, wrote Pimentel, who is also the immediate past president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. "It is, however, an inescapable part of my voice.

"It can't be helped and I wouldn't take the cure even if one were available. I am, of course, more than the U.S.-born son of Mexican immigrants — longtime reporter, editor and columnist, author and a military veteran, too. But it is an essential part of who I am.

"This background does different things to different people. In me, it has developed an affinity for folks routinely characterized as victims or suspects. There is often more to that story. In fact, few topics are generally as simple as portrayed."

Pimentel then mentioned immigration reform, as did a number of other columnists last week:

A mural in the Missouri Capitol depicts the Battle of Westport. (Credit: © 2011 Patrick T. Fallon/Special to the Kansas City Star)

K.C. Star Starts Series on Civil War's "Real Flashpoint"

The real flashpoint for the Civil War "burst in a place neither North nor South, but here — where slavery’s western trajectory hit a dead end," Rick Montgomery wrote for the Kansas City Star, beginning a series commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

"On the Missouri-Kansas line.

"The bad blood only started with the question of slaveholding, which had been legal across Missouri since its statehood in 1821. Ultimately the violence would be fueled less by ideals of equality (some 'free-soilers' in Kansas, in fact, argued for keeping black people out) than by vengeance and vicious one-upmanship.

"Long before the U.S. wars of the 2000s, boyish-looking irregulars, bushwhackers and Red Legs — today we call them terrorists or death squads — lurked outside Kansas City.

"Missourians, whether hostile or not to the Union that governed them, endured federal occupation and fiery pre-emptive strikes."

The newspaper promises for the second of the five-part series, "The story of the Missouri slave and Kansas Freeman; the black community’s view of what the Civil War wrought. This area produced the first African-American U.S. fighting units, well before 'Glory’s' 54th Massachusetts."

Meanwhile, columnists tackled related subjects.

In the Austin American-Statesman, Alberta Phillips wrote on April 30: "By any measure, the Texas Juneteenth statue honoring the emancipation of Texas slaves is not a fitting tribute to the traditions and contributions of Texas African Americans. Since 2005, several artists have tried to fashion it into a tribute worthy to be displayed on the Capitol grounds. But no amount of tinkering could fix that monstrosity."

In the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Jarvis DeBerry noted on May 8 that in Caddo Parish, La., the Confederate flag "flies outside the courthouse there next to a monument celebrating Caddo Parish as the last stand of Confederate Louisiana."

"Denise LeBoeuf, a capital defense attorney with the ACLU, said lawyers will argue . . . that the flag's presence outside the courthouse is problematic in and of itself, that it might subliminally encourage white jurors to think negatively of either black defendants or victims. . . . Another lawyer told The Shreveport Times that Caddo's one of the few jurisdictions in the country to have sentenced five people to death since 2004 and that the surest way to be sentenced to death there is to be a black person convicted of killing somebody white."

Heat-Bulls Matchup Draws 11.1 Million Cable Viewers

"The opening game of the Eastern Conference final between Miami and Chicago dunked the largest basketball audience in cable history — deflating 'His Airness,' Michael Jordan, from the record book in the process," Mike Reynolds wrote Monday for Multichannel News.

"TNT's coverage of Chicago and MVP Derrick Rose's 103-82 stomping on Miami and its Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh on Sunday night scored a 6.2 U.S. household rating, translating into 11.1 million viewers on average, according to Nielsen data.

"TNT's May 15 telecast supplanted the 'drama' network's coverage of the 2003 NBA All-Star Game — Michael Jordan's last at the event netted 10.8 million watchers — as cable's best-ever hoops telecast."

Short Takes

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Comments

Greg Lewis

I met Greg in 1979, when he was working for the Maynard Institute (when it was still the Institute for Journalism Education) and I was working for Bob Maynard at the Oakland Tribune. We became instant friends, and remained so through the years. Mostly he made me laugh -- even when I was going through a divorce. When he heard about it, he called me at work and said "you want me to kick his ass?" That was Greg ... always there, always funny, always a friend. I hate that he's gone ... I am so going to miss him.

Greg Lewis

Friend, roommate and tireless spirit. I still remember when I drove your car, with no windshield wipers, across country when we both landed new jobs in Cali. There's no rain in Southern California, right? Not a drop for 2200 miles until I got to the San Bernadino Freeway and had to pull off to the side of the road. I remember years later when we sprinted across First Street in downtown LA to see Nelson Mandela. I remember you holding it down in Oakland. Always an adventure, always good times. You will be missed.

Greg Lewis

The nicest co-worker anyone could ask for. Always willing to take time out to share an anecodote and provide some historical context. He spoke to everyone that crossed his path in the newsroom. He's really missed.

Greg Lewis

So very sad to hear about Greg's passing......he was one of the best people I've ever known.......Interested and interesting, inquisitive, happy....joyful even....obviously very intelligent and accomplished, yet so very humble in nature....I'll remember his vibrant smile, his love for his family, and his joy in living.

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