Saturday, June 14, 2008

R.I.P. Tim Russert


Years ago, I worked at NBC News in Washington, D.C.. My boss was Tim Russert. I was a peon at the time, and Tim was the head of the entire bureau as well as the moderator of "Meet the Press," the longest-running television show in worldwide broadcasting history. Tim didn't even have to acknowledge my existence. But he did. And he became my friend and mentor.


Tim passed away suddenly yesterday, after collapsing at NBC Studios while taping voiceovers for this weekend's edition of "Meet the Press." Tim left behind a wife, noted journalist Maureen Orth, and a son, Luke. Luke just graduated from college.


I remember Luke as an adorably precocious six-year-old. I first met Luke early one Sunday morning, when his dad brought him to the studio for the weekly taping of "Meet the Press." I sat next to Luke that morning and we entertained each other, giggling at the "very important" guests and playing tic-tac-toe on the back of some script copy.

Tim came up to me after the show that day and said, "I see you met my son Luke." Tim adored Luke, and he beamed every time he talked about him. "I think he might have a little crush," he added.

"He's a great kid," I replied. Then Tim asked, "So if Luke wanted to come to the studio again next week, you think you may want to hang out with him?" Yes. Yes, I did.

And that's how Luke and I became buddies. And Tim became my buddy too. He would call me into his office to show me the latest pictures of his family: his beloved dad Russ, his sisters, his gorgeous wife, and Luke. Luke in his baseball uniform. Luke at a baseball game. Always something about baseball. The man loved sports.


And even though I was just a girl, in my early twenties with very limited real-world experience, Tim cared about my opinion. He asked what I thought about important political matters, and he introduced me to senators, national correspondents, anchors, and presidential candidates. (I must admit to having a small - OK, huge - crush on NBC's White House Correspondent at the time, Brian Williams.)

For a short, glorious moment in my twenties, Tim was like a father figure to me. He introduced me to a whole world of opportunity, and he inspired me to dream big. I am forever changed because I had the privilege of knowing Tim Russert. Thank you Tim.

48 comments:

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

Such a loss....My husband is a big fan of Tim!

This kind of thing puts everything into perspective for me!

Live life for today and not tomorrow!

Lisa

loribeth said...

I saw your comment on Wordgirl's blog & followed you over here. How cool that you knew him -- thank you for sharing your memories. I wasn't always interested in the guests or topics on Meet the Press, but I loved watching him in action! He so obviously loved what he did. But 58 is way, way too young. :(

Nit said...

I was so surprised to learn of this! What a tragedy...

Goes to show, you never know...

Very sad.

Io said...

Al and I are such fans of his. We feel as though we have lost a dear friend, so I can only imagine how sad it must be for the people who knew him.
How wonderful that you did though.

Samantha said...

He is indeed one of the newsroom greats.

Samantha said...

And thanks for adding me to your blogroll. I've done the same with you.

PJ said...

Letterman is past my bedtime, LOL!

You WORKED with Tim Russert? That must have been exciting! He will be missed, that's for sure.

Away2me (Deanna) said...

What a wonderful thing to have known and spent time with the such a wonderful, well respected man.

Such a loss.

Kymberli said...

His loss seems to mean more knowing that you knew him personally and had a friendship with him. Thanks for sharing your experience with him.

Lost in Space said...

Wow, thanks for sharing your experiences and memories of such a great and well respected man. He will be greatly missed.

Deb said...

This was definitely a sad loss. So young. And that you knew him, sorry DC. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

Baby Step said...

Oh, how sad. :-( I am sorry.

Joanna said...

How wonderful that you knew him and have great memories of him. I didnt even see your post before mentioning him on my blog today. Such a loss. He was such a great news man.

Another one of NBC's reporters that I really enjoyed (and had a crush on myself) was David Bloom. I was saddened by his death in Iraq a few years ago. Way too young....the both of them.

Im a huge fan of Brian Williams too, but Tom Brokaw will always be my nightly news man. I hated it when he retired. It is nice to see him back on these shows this weekend paying his respects to Tim Russert.

Lori said...

May I touch your sleeve?

Seriously, what a privilege to have worked with these people.

And I appreciate your letting us know that he was as kind as he was professional.

Kim said...

Wow, so sad. NCOM

Pepper said...

I've been a huge fan political TV this year, to the point of taping "Meet" on Sunday mornings. Tim Russert was by far my favorite political journalist. Whenever he came on to give an opinion I would perk up and think, "Here comes the real story." I've been glued to his tributes this weekend. I can't imagine Sunday mornings or the 2008 election without Tim Russert. It just doesn't seem right.

It's so awesome to "know" someone who knew him.

susansmusings said...

It's great to know that he was a wonderful caring man in "real life" as well as on camera. How lucky you are to have known him.

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Mrs. Spit said...

thanks for the thoughts. It's so great to hear the personal stories of others, it's a way to see another side of someone.

thanks,

JourneytoFamily said...

This was such a tragedy. Thank you for the story. I'm glad to know he was such a great man.

I heard he just passed a stress test in April. Just goes to show that you truly don't know when you will go.

Sam said...

Being British, I have to admit that I don't know who Tim Russert was. Nevertheless, it is always a shock when someone dies relatively young and leaves a family behind.

Queenie. . . said...

I love Tim, too. I was standing in an airport Friday when I caught the news on CNN, and I was completely blown away. It struck me as incredibly nice that he'd just returned from Luke's graduation from BC and a family vacation. At least he spent his last days enjoying his family.

I'd love to hear how you went from journalism to law.

luna said...

what a great story, thanks for sharing. it's good to know he was so nice to the "peons" at work, and such a family man.

loribeth said...

Thanks for your kind comment on my blog, & of course you can me to your roll (as I have added you to my Google Reader!).

I suppose you saw today's edition of "Meet the Press." Dh & I were both passing the Kleenex!

JuliaS said...

A lovely tribute - thank you for sharing a more personal and intimate side of a well known person. I have always enjoyed watching Tim Russert on television and will miss his commentary. Reading your Show and Tell on him has been very gratifying and makes me feel the loss more strongly.

Good wishes to you.

Stacie said...

Your story was a lovely tribute. He must have been a wonderful mentor and an amazing man. Thank you for sharing and I am so sorry for your loss.

Phoebe said...

It's always nice to know that TV personalities are human beings. Sorry for your loss of a friend and mentor.

Amanda said...

Wow, incredible. What a cool story. It's so neat that you were able to personally know someone so influential.

Tim's passing is surely being felt by everyone involved in politics. My sympathies to you and his friends and family, especially Luke.

Mama's Losin' It said...

This must have been a huge shock for you. I feel awful for his family!!

Big hugs comin' your way too!!

Still Standing Strong in A Bloom of Hope. said...

Wow! That sounds like a great job to have!!!! :)

It's never easy dealing with losing somebody, and that's why I want to treasure every single moment that i have...

Thanks for sharing..

andrea said...

i feel like you know everyone.
thanks for sharing your memories.

AlmostMrsJoyner said...

DC..Thanks for the comment..and yes if you have to have a license to drive and be 21 to get liquor,then you should have to pass some kind of TEST to be a parent..Ughh..On a different note, how awesome that you got to know Tim Russert and have him mentor you..That is fantastic

Mrs. R said...

His genuine nature appealed to everyone. You felt like you were watching a friend. I am so glad to hear from someone like you who actually knew him, that he did indeed live up to his image.

My heartfelt prayers go out to his family.

JamieD said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I really liked him from MTP, but it is the stories about him as a 'real person' I love the most.

He will be greatly missed.

Fiddle1 said...

Yes, it is very sad news. I enjoyed reading this about him. You tell me I have an interesting job. Girl, you've done it all! Law enforcement, journalism and broadcast, law. I'm very impressed.

christina(apronstrings) said...

wow, and i thought i was bummed. poor you! how awful. i have loved hiom for years. i like smart people adnd i respect no one more than good husbands and great fathers-which from all accounts it sounds like he was both.
yep, the world has lost one great man.

Cibele said...

I was in shock when I read about his death, A greta loss indeed. it so great that you had to opportunity yo work and get to know him

Mya said...

Thanks for sharing your memories. It was a beautiful post.

Btw, thanks for adding me to your blogroll.

TTCinDC said...

I love this post. I am not sure if you are interested, but I wrote about Russert just a couple of days ago. I've only met him in passing a couple of times, but each time he exuded warmth and charisma. A real loss.

http://onepinkline.blogspot.com/2008/06/rip-tim-russert.html.

Heather said...

Very cool that you knew him. He seemed like such an amazing person. I feel so sorry for his family. And Luke seemed pretty impressive too. I saw him on the Today show this morning.

Betty M said...

Asa Brit I had no idea who Tim Russert was but from your post (and those of others in teh blogosphere that have come my way)I can tell what kind of man he was and how everyone who knew him must miss him. You were lucky to have that experience.

Rebeccah said...

Wow, what a great opportunity that was for you. I'm so sorry for your personal loss. It's definitely a loss for those of us who are political junkies ...

kate said...

I am so sorry for your personal loss. And I am so sorry for our loss as a country. I know that I will miss him very much. The world will be a little dimmer without him.

Lisa said...

Wow!! I just found your blog through Lisa at Half Gaelic. I never had the priviledge of knowing Tim Russert, but I adored him. It was very comforting reading about your experiences with him. Thanks for sharing!!!

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