“Hey, Gwen! How’s Catfish,” Mr. Jack would walk into the newsroom and ask, a big smile on his face.
It took me awhile to catch on, but Catfish was what he’d nicknamed her son, Tyler.
By the time I began working at The Leader in 2007, Jack Harris Sr. had retired, but he’d still come around every once in awhile to sit down and visit, he’d even make new friends with those of us who’d joined the ranks after he’d retired.
He missed this place, you could tell.
In seven years, I’ve never heard a cross word spoken about him.
He was one of the few remaining members of what we like to call the old guard, those people who worked at The Leader in the days of George Whitley and Bill Simonton Jr., the people who worked here during the golden era of print journalism.
These people are legends to us and we are saddened by the loss of so many of them.
The last time I saw Mr. Jack was a week before his death. Justin Hanson and I were working on a story about a cat hoarding situation at the former Mason Market when Mr. Jack pulled up and asked what we were up to.
“Open that door and let me at ‘em,” he said, a mischievous grin working its way upon his face. “I’ll take care of ‘em in about 10 minutes!”
It wasn’t politically correct, but neither was Mr. Jack.
Both good-humored and good-natured, he was also very blunt and very honest.
It was refreshing and it will certainly be missed, as will he.
The world has lost a great man, one who can never be replaced. I just hope for his sake, there’s good fishing in Heaven.