Gayle Ronan Sims had the task and the privilege of writing the obituary for fellow Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Marc Schogol, whose story ran in that newspaper on May 27, 2007.
Gayle wrote what appears to be personal recollections of the longtime Inquirer master word craftsman and role model, who died of leukemia at age 58.
She writes: In a business filled with large and often fragile egos, Mr. Schogol could be counted on to handle the most mundane assignments with the same enthusiasm and craft he brought to the biggest stories. He was a selfless colleague who enjoyed helping other reporters shape their work.
She includes standard obit elements - his work history, his writings and comments from editors, folks he interviewed and his family. She also paints an affectionate portrait that no doubt is recognizable to friends in the newsroom and to the public:
Mr. Schogol never took himself too seriously. He is remembered for his gentle eyes and shock of unruly hair - and for padding around the newsroom in stocking feet.
He confessed to being the bearded middle-age man at the mall who took money for answering consumer surveys while his wife shopped.
I especially like the quote in which Inquirer reporter Elizabeth Duff shares her first impressions of Schogol from 1974:
"I saw this new guy in blue jeans, a work shirt and long hair," she said. "I thought he must be a copy boy. I introduced myself and he said, 'I'm a reporter.' I was drawn to him because of his kindness and talent."
Nicely done, Gayle.
Imagine the pain this writer experienced to write life story of a colleague of two decades.
Marc Schogol was the reporter who led the Alex Lemonade story of a little girl who died from cancer in 2004.
Marc and Alex will never be forgotten.
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