Eulogy for a newspaperman

The late Bob Pastin (right) and myself (center() celebrating the Pittsburgh Penguins’
2009 Stanley Cup championship at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review offices.

One day at my former job as a reporter for The Signal Item newspaper in Green Tree, Pa., Bob Pastin, my editor, was
searching for a headline.

An event over the weekend in Crafton, Pa. featured a llama and we had a great photo for this week’s paper. After mulling it over, I suggested “Llama-palooza.” Bob beamed with laughter and used it on the front page.

That’s how I’ll always remember Bob, who died on Aug. 5 at age 70. Bob was my longtime editor at The Signal Item. He was a tough and dedicated journalist and quite the character.

He graduated from West Virginia University and was a placekicker on the Mountaineers football team, playing in the 1969 Peach Bowl. Bob worked at newspapers across the country, including as sports editor of the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

He always worked hard to inform the public and get the best out of his reporters. I consider him a real-life Lou Grant of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”: A sometimess and paper exterior belied a soft heart.

As I read his obituary in the Trib and numerous remembrances on social media by my former colleagues, many said the newsroom was his second home. But part of me believes it was his first home.

He even went in to work on Saturdays and Sundays. There were countless Monday evenings I would attend a borough council meeting, write a story and email it to him — still at the office at 10 p.m. — so it could get in the week’s

Residents had to know about newly installed windows at the community center, after all. (Oh, how many times I reported on those windows…) There are many complicated feelings people sort through when someone important to
their lives passes away.

I know it will take me longer than these words to come to grips with this loss. So, I will end this the best way I know how. Thanks for everything, Bob