DM News' Unsung HeroNot many of you knew Patrick Honan. Though he worked at DM News for 5 1/2 years, he only went to two or three marketing conferences. But you saw his handiwork in every issue and newsletter that we published. As executive editor, he was more of a behind-the-scenes man: editing stories, writing headlines and captions, working with the production department to get pages ready to go to the printer and hounding reporters and columnists about deadlines and such. I knew I could count on Pat to get the job done, and he always did. I also could tell that he enjoyed his work. He was an excellent editor, always asking the right questions and taking the time to work with reporters to make each story better.
My co-worker and friend died of a heart attack as he walked to the subway to go home last Monday. Only minutes earlier, we had been discussing some things that he needed to take care of for me because I was scheduled to fly to Chicago for the Annual Catalog Conference early the next morning. I didn't make it to Chicago.
Pat was a gentle man and a gentleman. I never saw him stress out. Maybe he should have. For the most part, he managed with a calm composure instead of raising his voice, though a reporter or two were known to exasperate him every so often. His even-keel personality helped make the newsroom different from other newspapers I've worked at, and there were several times I told him that he kept me sane. Usually the first person in, Pat was a fixture at the office. If I asked him to do something, he did it without question. Then I would realize how late it was getting, and I'd tell him to go home to his family. More often than not, he would stay to help finish up. Now I wish he had taken me up on my offer more.
Pat didn't talk about his family much, but when he did it was clear that he loved his wife, Patricia, and his two children, Caitlin and John. By how he acted at the office, I thought he had a perfect life. I never heard him complain, and he never brought any problems to work. He was just two weeks away from turning 44. He didn't like to bring attention to himself. In fact, he didn't even tell anyone at the office when he was turning 40 a few years ago, perhaps to avoid the razzing he knew he would get. There are countless things I will miss about Pat, from discussing marketing and politics to our rehashes of the idiotic things they did on "24" the night before.
Pat, you leave a gaping hole in the lives of those who knew you. I will miss you, my friend.