There has been a sudden spate of deaths of people I know (in fact in the hour before I started this post two friends both told me of deaths in their families one yesterday and one earlier one that I hadn’t heard of) in the month of December. Most people would not have heard of these folks but I think they deserve a mention.
The 1st was Mary Margaret Rogers. Of the three she was likely the most prominent. While a British citizen she had lived in the US for decades and was active in political circles in NH. I first met her covering a Herman Cain event. I interviewed Ted Cruz at her home, spoke to Ben Carson there. Her husband writes for Granite Grok and it was through that association that I became an honorary Grokster.
But it was her kindness to people in general and my family in particular that stuck me. She had a high opinion of my wife and sons and treated us with the type of love and affection that people are used to associating with family. This however is not odd as all who knew her would have said the same. As her mass card quotes her:
“People will forget what you say, people will forget what you do but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.
She made me and mine feel special. She was the best of the British Isles.
The 2nd was Ed Thomas. He was a professor of history at Fitchburg State College when I was there and later Fitchburg State University. He had an active mind and a love of history and facts. His notes were copious (I once asked about buying them but he declined) and he delighted in original sources. He was not shy about his opinions (that often differed from mine) but he always made clear the difference between opinion and fact. In later years after he retired I would occasionally see him coming early to the 4:15 mass when confessions were running late and he would chat.
He was the best teacher I had during my college years bar none and only Theresa Mahoney from grade school had a bigger influence on me.
Generations of students benefited from his instruction and will mourn his leaving us.
The third if a fellow by the name of Mike Karamanos. Most people never knew his last name. To them he was Mike of Mike’s Pizza. He was a hard working man who for decades ran his small pizzeria making pizza, subs and salads for the people in town. He was honest with his customers, generous of his charity and grateful for the chance to make his business in America but his heart was always in Greece where he will be burried.
He was an American success story and it is my great regret that I never interviewed him for my series of that name but it was my great privilege to know him.
None of these people will rate an obit in the Times or Post but all three were fine people who touched those who know them. That is what life is all about.