Mortality checks

Mr. Yenta’s father did pass away as it seemed he might. We got down to Florida just in time. Mr. Yenta, his brother and sister-in-law and I flew down together, picked Mom up and rushed over to the hospital to say good-bye – sort of. No one’s sure if he knew we were there, but we hope that he sensed it. That was Monday night and he died at about 3 AM Tuesday morning. He was 90 and although he was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia he really died of a total system shut down more than anything. Died of old age is what it really was. He did pretty well. A long life well lived. He was loved by his family and well regarded by just about anyone who knew him. Can’t ask for much more in this life.

Dad was in the news business from the time he was 17 until he retired, about 49 years later, with four years out for WWII. He worked for the same organization the whole time, working his way up from copy boy to senior copy editor of a major publication. At work he came to be regarded and somewhat ferocious. At home – not ferocious in the least. Once in a while, though, he did mention his low regard for graduates from journalism school. He wasn’t a famous journalist, but he certainly was a seasoned one. His death was sandwiched in between two more famous names in different areas of the media.

One the hour and a half drive from the airport to Mom’s place we listened to reminiscences about Jim McKay on the car radio. We all remembered him from Wide World of Sports and various Olympics at the least. He’d died over the weekend. He was a couple of years younger than Dad. All part of the long good-bye to the Greatest Generation.

Upon arriving home we learned that Tim Russert had just died. Did not see that one coming at all. Fifty-eight. Prime of life and, in his case, career. My exact age. WTF, Tim? I’m sorry for his whole family, but especially Big Russ. And Mrs. Big Russ if she’s still with us. We know Big Russ alive and well because Terry McAuliffe had to be corrected on Meet the Press when he made the unfortunate assumption that Big Russ was keeping up with current events from Heaven. Really awkward moment there. Although it’s pretty great to have a son who is incredibly successful and famous and then he writes a book about you – in a good way – to boot, but any father in the world would rather have his son outlive him and give up the rest if he was given a choice in the matter. This has got to be a very sad Father’s Day for Big Russ.


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by raford on June 15, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    So sorry to hear about Mr. Yenta’s father, but it is comforting when someone dies in a relatively painless way after a long life. He sounds like a good man.

    And like you, I was shocked by Russert’s untimely demise. I didn’t always like the way he questioned people, but I always got a sense that he was one of the good guys. I thought he would be around for many more years.


  2. many condolences to you and Mr Yenta for the loss of the father….so sorry…sounds like it was not a painful demise…that is one blessing…but still sad…and many times they seem too soon to go….Russert…wow…what a shock…too damn young…58…awful….really sad…


  3. Thank you both. In the case of Dad, it was pretty much the way most of us would want to go, but it still seemed to be too soon. I think that’s because his mind remain totally sharp pretty close to the end.


  4. My condolences to you and your family Zenyenta.


  5. I’m sorry for your loss.


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