Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert 1950-2008

NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert died suddenly today at age 58. He was the host of Meet the Press since 1991, and he brought civility and a great deal of knowledge to Sunday morning. I was stunned to read about his death, and I called Jim to tell him.

We feel so bad for the country that has lost a wise voice, someone who didn't scream or argue the news at us. He seemed so enthusiastic about this election year, first the Democratic race, and now the excitement of the race between Barack Obama and John McCain.

Tim Russert made us care about his family, even though we never met them. He wrote Big Russ & Me about his relationship with his father. And then two years ago, he wrote Wisdom of Our Fathers. It's almost ironic that it was a Father's Day book, and Tim Russert did a publicity tour for that book prior to Father's Day in 2006. Now, he's gone just before that day.

On June 21, 2006, I did a book review of Wisdom of Our Fathers, but the family man in Tim Russert would probably appreciate that he brought back memories of my own father. He said his book Big Russ & Me encouraged so many people to talk about their relationships with their fathers. That book contained letters telling about those relationships.

Jim and I are sorry for Tim Russert's family - his father, Big Russ, his son, Luke, and his wife. As often as he talked of them with pride on TV, we know how much he loved them. He loved his family, and talked of them and his background, coming from a working class community in Buffalo.

And, we're sorry for the American people. Keith Olbermann has been asking tonight, how will we get answers in the future. I don't know. I don't know who is out there who loved politics, and could share that love, enthusiasm and his historical knowledge with all of us.

Tim Russert - 1950-2008

“Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” William Shakespeare.


Julie P. said...

Such a nice tribute -- my husband and I are in shock. We feel as if we've lost a friend who has visited us every Sunday morning for 15 years.

Lesa said...

Julie, Jim and I feel the same way. There was so much more I wanted to say. Even though we never met him, we do feel as if we lost a friend.

I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes as I watch MSNBC. It's so sad.

Lori Thornton said...

Thanks for such a nice tribute to Russert. He had a lot of class. Even though I didn't always share his views, he was very likeable and was respected by those who did disagree with him.

Anonymous said...


As we set here with tears in our eyes, it feels like we have lost family. He will be sorely missed from our lives and in this years Election. I feel sorry for his family & particularly "Big Russ", who Tim had to place in Assisted Living just 10 days ago. How hard it must have been for him & his family. Surely he rests with the angels tonight.

May God Bless his family and as he would have said, "Good Bless The United States of America. ''


Lesa said...

Thank you, Lori. I always had the feeling that he was respectful to people whether or not he agreed with them. He will be missed.

Lesa said...

How beautiful, Jim. Thank you. And, how hard it must be for his wife and Luke to be in Italy right now. I'm so sorry for them. And, I'm so sorry for us.

Anonymous said...

I felt like I knew him after reading Big Russ and Me. It was a terrifle shock to hear he had died.

Lesa said...

You're right, Lorraine. After reading his books, and watching him so much, particularly this last year, it felt as if I could walk up to him, hold a conversation, and end it with a hug. You just felt as if you knew him.

I've spent the whole weekend watching Tim Russert remembrances. I'll probably go to work tomorrow with a puffy face.

Les said...

This just broke my heart when I first heard the news an hour or so after CNN made the announcement. My heart is heavy for his wife and son - especially his son. My daughter experienced a terrible loss (her stepsister) when she was about Luke's age. It's so very hard on those young adults.

I watched Meet the Press on Sunday morning and wept along with everyone. Brokow tried so hard to keep it together, but how can you? Russert was such a loveable guy and obviously well-respected and loved by so many. I wanted to reach through the tv and hug Jim Carville. He was so broken up.

Lesa said...

I know, Les. I saw Luke Russert on the Today show yesterday, and he was so poised. He had all of his father's confidence. In fact, he was more composed than Matt Lauer. He was so sure, and strong, with his father's love. It was absolutely beautiful to see.

And, I saw pictures of Jim Carville. It was so sad. I didn't realize how close he was with the Russerts. He went to ballgames with them, and has a sports radio show with Luke.

Yes, I did just want to hug people in the last couple days.