Tim Russert and his son Luke
The response and reaction to the sudden death of Tim Russert has really been remarkable. When the news broke yesterday afternoon, my wife called me at work and my sister emailed me as soon as they heard.
People like us, who never even met him, are upset. There was obviously a widespread warmth in the hearts of Americans for this man. And for him to die so suddenly, without any forewarning, in the prime of his life at 58, is really shocking.
One reason it's so shocking is that Tim Russert had a joyful boisterousness that made him seem to just bubble over with life. How could that just end in an instant, like a bolt from the blue? It feels like a theft.
One more thing about Tim Russert. I think that he was a man beloved by so many of us who never knew him because he had a real respect for a certain type of people like us. By "us" I mean people like my family, who were Catholics of somewhat dubious devoutness, but who believed in working hard to make a better life for their children. And as children we felt an obligation to move the family forward. This sensibility was respected by Tim Russert with a sincerity that I don't see or feel from other public and press figures. He understood at a gut level that we had worked really hard just to be middle class. He could have come from my home town.
Tim Russert will be missed by many.
Tim Russert and wife Maureen Orth
Trish, Kiki, Tim, Betty Anne
Elizabeth, Tim Sr.
Sister Mary Lucille, Tim Russert, Father John Sturm