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In the Light
How do we honor those who have passed?
We write about them, extoll their virtues, praise their accomplishments.
Sometimes that is hard to do — write about virtues and accomplishments — because those virtues and accomplishments aren’t measured by the documents framed on their office walls or by the number of awards they laid claim to.
I met Dave McCoy twice, both times appreciating his gentle manner and humor.
After my first meeting with him I knew he left a big impact on this newspaper and its readers. He, like the man who brought him on board to guide The Courier News, left a legacy that those of us working here now strive to live up to.
I’ve said it many times, The Courier News it not one single person’s, not a corporation’s, and not a political party’s newspaper and voice … The Courier News belongs to you.
Dave McCoy knew that, understood that, and his work reflected that.
I want to thank Darrell Richardson and Fred Strohl for sharing their insights on Mr. McCoy. They didn’t have to, especially Mr. Richardson — he’s the heart and soul of The Oak Ridger, not even a sister publication of The Courier News.
But he did.
He’s a newspaperman.
Richard Evans gets the credit for penning the elegant memory to Mr. McCoy on the front of this edition.
And there are guys like Michael Gran who have left our newspaper fraternity.
Michael Gran was a good-natured (almost to the point of being goofy) kinda guy.
Quick to smile, slow to anger, always ready to ask a question if he didn’t understand something — which shows the kind of man he was: He wanted to get it right and not pretend he knew everything.
He was a Midwesterner in heart and mind — he was Chicago, Ill., born and raised and it showed. He was honest in his dealings with you, honest in his opinion of you, and wore his love of the Cubs, the Bears, and the Blackhawks with a sense of pride — no matter what kind of season they were having.
There were numerous times I’d hear him say, “Aw … You see what happened to the Cubbies last night?”
He even pulled for the Bulls — though he wasn’t really a basketball fan.
Mike died Friday morning — complications from diabetes. He was 57.
In newspaper, people seem to always remember the “big fish,” the publishers, the editors, the great reporters who lived to dig out the truth, the pressman who was a burly scoundrel on the outside (always complaining about late pages), but a kitten on the inside, and who worked their craft many, many years to earn the status of “legendary pressman.”
Printing a newspaper takes a lot of people, though. It takes the “big fish,” but it also takes the people who work in the background: The advertising inserters, the ones who take care of your subscription, the folks who handle billing, the guy who picks up the paper, the people who deliver it to your door.
All of them take pride in the final product … I’ve learned this in 30 years in newspaper.
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard an advertising inserter say, “The paper looks good,” or “What happened on page (whatever)?” where there was a misspelling in a headline.
Mike was that kind of guy. He took pride in The Courier News and his role in getting the paper out. He worked with us before his health declined.
He picked up our paper from the printer and worked with the advertising inserters. He was well-liked (even though he was a Cubs’ fan) and highly thought of. He was dependable — you asked him to do something and it was done.
I’m glad he was able to see his Cubbies win the World Series, see his Blackhawks’ well-documented haul of Sir Stanley’s Cup (twice!) into eateries and taverns throughout Chicagoland, and see his Bears win one Superbowl and almost win another.
I hadn’t talked to him in a while — my loss because he always had something … Cool to say.
It was hard for me to see him any other way than the Mike who bounced through the newsroom fretting over the Cubs’ fortunes of the previous night.
He was just being Mike.
His wife, Sharon, was a pillar of strength for him. His stepson, Dusty, was likewise.
I’ll miss Mike. I’ll miss his spirit, his straightforward approach to everything.
I’ll miss his Midwestern way of dealing with life.
But I won’t miss him as much as Sharon and Dusty will.
I will always remember him though, as a member of The Courier News’ family.
Services for Mike will be from 6 – 7 p.m. Thursday, July 13, 2017, at Holley Gamble Funeral Home in Clinton.
His memorial service will follow in the chapel with Pastor Peyton Wills officiating.
About “ - 30 -”
Newspaper reporters, in the old days, always ended their stories with “- 30 -” to signify the end of that particular story. Stories were typed on a typewriter, sent to an editor, who marked the copy, then sent to a typesetter, who made the final setting of type (and , as time went by, the final draft on a computer).