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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hal Levy passes away

It seems we continue to lose the giants in our industry little by little.

Hal Levy, the executive sports editor of the Shoreline Line Times newspaper, died of liver cancer late Thursday night ate age 61. Unfortunately, it was not unexpected. Word had gotten out about three months ago - right before he was the master of ceremonies at the Gold Key Dinner for the Conencticut Sports Writer's Alliance.

I had a front-row seat and I can honestly say he did a brilliant job. I've often though over the last few months what I would do if I knew I only had a few months to live. To be able to suck it up, put your affairs in order is tough enough. Hal virtually worked until the day he died.

But that was how the man was. He rarely took a day off. He was there in the office on Sunday mornings like clockwork. I know, because he voted in my baseball and boys' basketball polls the last six or seven years.

It was also refreshing to have someone in our business not sugar-coat things. Getting yelled at was not fun - that happened at the state championship finals in March -but that was Hal being Hal. Looking back on it now, I can laugh about it. Back then, it was no laughing matter.

In April, longtime Manchester-Journal Inquirer sports writer Randy Smith died of a heart attack. Last September, Bill Gonillo, the TV sports director of News-12 in Fairfield, dropped dead due to what was believed to be related to his severe case of diabetes. You knew him as the man with the camera forever perched on his shoulder, at every single local sporting event.

I saw Bill as often as I saw Hal - men about town. Their legacies will live on in my heart and many others in our industry - as well they should.

Rest in peace, gentlemen.

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