I remember the tears that came to my eyes as I read the news. It was a Sunday morning in April 2007. Easter Sunday morning, I believe. On the front page of the Topeka Capital Journal, Pete Goering shared the news he had lung cancer - the same disease that claimed the life of my mother-in-law just a few months earlier. Nearly two years later, Pete is gone, having lost his battle this past Saturday.
I'm not really sure you can count it as a battle lost, though, when you consider the way in which Pete fought. He shared a deeply personal journey with so many people. He kept his humor. He kept living.
I don't pretend to have known Pete extremely well and I didn't work with him as closely as my colleagues at the paper, but, as a young journalist in Topeka, I believe Pete did teach me a thing or two. Above all, he taught respect - respect for the people we cover and for the people we're working alongside, whether they're in your newsroom or the newsroom across town. For the subjects we cover - you can be friendly, but still be objective; you can be critical, but be fair; and always ask the questions - the tough ones, and the ones that clarify what you may not understand. For our colleagues - treat them the way you'd want to be treated; competing for the best stories doesn't mean you have to be rude.
Pete always had time for me. When I was brand new, he never treated me like the naive, inexperienced, wanna-be reporter I was! As the years passed, he always took my calls to answer questions or concerns. We both enjoyed Washburn basketball games. Photog Doug blogged about the two empty seats at Lee Arena these days. We sadly add a third. But we know all three are watching from the front row in heaven.