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Posts: 71

6/3/2009 3:00:33 AM

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Please feel free to use this space to post your comments and stories about Terry. He would be thrilled to know he is the center of attention.

All SPJ members are welcome either to reply to this thread or create a new one.

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6/3/2009 9:52:51 AM

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Terry, I hope you're enjoying that endless supply of Makers Mark and sushi. Miss you already.

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6/3/2009 10:42:40 AM

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Thank you Terry for all you did for SPJ. And for one night of Keraoke in the basement of a hotel in South Korea. Or was it more than one?

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6/3/2009 11:02:02 AM

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Lessons learned from Terry Harper:

1. If the label has the word "whisky" without "Kentucky bourbon" -- it isn't really whisky.

2. Screw them if they can't take a joke.

3. Make a decision, have a good reason for that decision, and stick by that decision.

4. Some of the most memorable times are when friends get together with nothing to do.

5. Telling someone the time and building a clock are the exact opposite.

6. The world is easiest understood through animals, shapes and colors.

7. When ordering a steak, it should never be well done. And it should always accompanied by a side of mushrooms or asparagus. If the restaurant doesn't serve mushrooms or asparagus, it's not a restaurant worth revisiting.

8. Do your best to help others, but never lose sight of Numero Uno.

9. Clip-on bow ties don't count.

10. It's painful when friends part. But the legacy and lessons they leave behind make the rest of us better.

-- Joe Skeel

Message edited at 6/3/2009 2:21:24 PM

Message edited at 6/3/2009 2:21:44 PM

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6/3/2009 1:15:08 PM

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On my first day at SPJ, Terry told me there were three things I was not allowed to do as one of his employees:

1. Cry at the office
2. Say “I love you” while at work
3. Get engaged and move away

Well, it’s been four and a half years since I first met Terry and I’ve cried in the office (more than once), said my share of “I love yous” as I hung up the phone with friends and family…but, I’m still waiting on that damn ring.

I'm glad I wasn’t a total disappointment..even if I think N'Sync is better than the Backstreet Boys!

Heather Porter
SPJ Professional Development Coordinator

Message edited at 6/3/2009 1:19:29 PM

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6/3/2009 1:19:01 PM

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Terry and I regularly bet on Missouri-Okla St. games. I was a tad slow -- ok, really slow -- in paying off after OSU beat my Tigers at home to derail their national football title hopes. Terry cajoled me mercilessly for that dollar.

But that wasn't our last bet. The Tigers and the Cowboys faced off in the Big 12 basketball tournament. MU won. I guess I'll never see that dollar.

I'm privileged to have been the first SPJer to have met Terry. I chaired the search committee in 2001, and interviewed him by phone as we winnowed our field to the final five. I called his references, who uniformly praised Terry (and said Lee Ann was the best part of the package). All of the qualities we have seen since shown through in those interviews.

Whatever I may have done for SPJ, being part of the group that gave us Terry for seven years will always be at the top of the list.

He was professional. He hired an excellent staff. He had a great sense of humor -- it's too bad only a handful of us got to experience his Korean Karaoke. If you want to know why things have gone bad on the peninsula....

And of course everyone who has attended the Scripps retreat knows about duckpin bowling, which is made more palatable by any adult beverage.

Before I began my term as president, Terry visited me in Springfield. I scheduled a tee time. The breeze was up that day -- Terry liked to remind me of the time I made him play golf in a hurricane. But by the time we finished, the sun had come out and it turned into a beautiful day. Looking back, the experience became a metaphor for the way Terry came into SPJ and what happened because of him. And I know that today, he is in a place where the sun always shines, the music never ends and the bourbon is abundant.

-- Robert Leger

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6/3/2009 9:48:51 PM

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In the office today it felt like you were going to walk through those doors and come to work at 3909.

Chris Vachon

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6/4/2009 6:34:01 PM

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Even though,like other SPJers, I was aware of Terry's condition, upon hearing the news, my first reaction was
"Damn! He left us too soon."

My second thought recalled the words of a former colleague who always said that
God doesn't make mistakes. And neither did SPJ when it hired Terry Harper in 2001.

I served on the national board from 1994-2000, so while I didn't work with him as a board member, I came to know and respect him. Terry was a consummate
professional who brought a much needed stability to headquarters and its operation.

One thing I will always remember about how Terry is how he always supported the Legal Defense Fund (LDF)auctions held at national conventions.
While Steve Geimann and Betsy Ashton have earned status as legendary bidders, Terry could also be an interesting bidder to watch. Several years ago he was the only other person to bid on the autographed George Clooney basketball. I was the winner and Terry wanted to know why someone from Pittsburgh would want an autographed basketball...a Steeler football, maybe, but a George Clooney autographed basketball? He also asked how I was going to get it home on the plane, something I hadn't considered when bidding.

I know that I won't be the only SPJer remembering Terry during this year's LDF auction. I just wish I could make the party this weekend to celebrate his life.

Thank you, Terry Harper, for making SPJ a better organization and the world a brighter place. You are greatly missed.

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6/4/2009 8:01:35 PM

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I first met Terry during the 2002 Capitol Hill visit in Washington. As I recall, we had gone to dinner with Mac McKerral and Jim Highland. We ordered sangria and Terry promptly spilled some of his on my arm. It became a running joke between us. I also was very glad to host Terry for an afternoon in Missoula when he came to shepherd a Tom Hallman writing seminar here. My wife Susan and I took him for a drive into the Seeley-Swan Valley and enjoyed every minute. Ever since Terry's illness surfaced, I've been glad he saw Summit Lake and the Swan Range. I also will treasure our last e-mail correspondences.
Terry, I'll remember you in so many ways and places. I'll look for your light.
-Ian Marquand

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6/4/2009 9:11:09 PM

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Before I saw Terry at the 2007 national convention in Washington, DC, I knew him only through Quill. Since then, he and I exchanged e-mail, especially for me to tell him that I added him to a growing list for the shabbat prayers for the sick in synagogue. I'm heartened he appreciated the prayers, but I do wish I had known him better. I do know he served SPJ well, not only professionally but personally. He easily has earned our gratitude and honored memory.

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6/5/2009 12:54:06 PM

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I am sure Makers Mark sales rose this week due to many raising a glass of it to our friend.

Chris Vachon

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6/6/2009 4:12:57 PM

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The news of Terry's passing left me downhearted for most of a day. Remembering his generosity, humor and professionalism brightened my outlook.
I remember meeting him at an executive committee meeting in Memphis that Clint Brewer conned -- er, talked me -- into hosting in 2006, six months before I became a member of the national board.
I wish I could join everyone for the gatherings in his honor this weekend, but since I can't, I'll be sure to lift a glass, maybe two.

Al Cross
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6/7/2009 10:24:18 PM

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I'm very sorry that Patti and I couldn't be in Indianapolis this weekend to honor Terry and celebrate his life. I'll miss trading stories with him about Jim Bunning and sharing one of Kentucky's finest products. I know that SPJ will also miss his leadership. When we hired Terry, some SPJ members thought we should have hired a journalist. As president, I told them that what we needed was a manager -- one who understood journalism. We believed that he had a basic understanding of it, and could expand that understanding and serve the profession well. He did just that, and all journalists owe him at least a little something for it. SPJ members owe him a lot.

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6/8/2009 8:58:07 AM

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Well done Terry Harper, well done!
Thanks for the memories.


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6/9/2009 2:07:37 PM

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Terry Harper left us too soon. He was just getting really good as steering the organization in the right direction, with the right `crew' to keep SPJ relevant and viable for years to come.

I was a director of the SDX Foundation when Terry was hired as executive director. I became Foundation president while he was on the job, and we worked together many times - sometimes on programs, sometimes on relationships, always in the best interests of the Society.

I was fortunate to attend the June 6-7 events in Indiana to remember Terry and to share stories with friends and family. It was truly a memorable weekend. We laughed, we cried, we remember hysterical moments from past meetings and reflected on the spirit and energy he brought to the organization. It was an emotional time for some of us, but it was important to be there. To see how much Terry touched the people he met along the way.

Terry left us way too soon. It's up to all os us to recall the contributions he made, celebrate the role he played, emulate the attitude he brought to his daily life and admire the way prepared for death.

Farewell, my friend.

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6/10/2009 11:29:36 AM

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Six key lessons learned in my short time on staff with Terry:

1. Always follow instructions (especially when applying for a job he posted; following the application instructions is apparently how I landed a job at SPJ last summer).

2. Always carry your hotel room key. Being found barefooted and donning a cowboy shirt with Maker’s Mark on your breath in the lobby at 3am doesn’t impress hotel security.

3. Give credit where credit is due.

4. Be Facebook friends with your staff; that way you’ll know if they are job-hunting.

5. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Who cares what people think??

6. A foot of unplowed snow is no reason to close the office.

In true Terry fashion, at Christmas-time when he, Chris and Joe were all out of the office for the week, he told me, “Feel free to boss everyone around. There is an extra $50 in it for you if you make someone cry.” Look who’s crying now…!!

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to tell him good-bye and thank you...a true gift that I will forever treasure. He showed such faith in me. I will always remember him for that.

And there you have it.

Amy Posavac
Director of Development

Message edited at 6/10/2009 11:31:04 AM

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6/15/2009 11:20:18 AM

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I have a ridiculous number of Terry Harper e-mails stuck in my Hotmail account from my year of service as the Society of Professional Journalists' 2006-07 national president. I couldn't resist raking through some of my favorites.

In Terry's words:

"I must say that I am a bit miffed that my 'file in the cake' suggestion is not getting more play in this discussion. It's so obvious that the authorities likely will not even suspect it." - his 2 cents regarding SPJ's defense of then-jailed blogger Josh Wolf

"Can you give us some guidance in concise, plain English - animals, shapes and colors, I like to say." - to SPJ's law firm

"This is what I was afraid of...we can't afford this. What a racket. Maybe I am in the wrong business." - his reaction to an expensive proposal from a high-falutin' consultant

"At the risk of sending you into early labor ..."

"Well, Madam President, between us girls ..."

"I consider myself looped!"

"The last time I was summoned, I made it all the way into the jury box but was voir dire'd out on my arse." - his insistence that he wouldn't be tapped for jury duty

"It shall be done ... minus the invitation to see Hillary Duff's homepage that appears at the bottom, courtesy of Hotmail." - his assurance that a task list he'd cooked up for himself would be completed by week's end

"Is there anything for us to learn from this? The Supreme Court hates the media? Like St. Jude, are we the patron saints of lost causes? Just keeping pitching and hope one day we throw a strike?" - in response to SPJ's lack of success with getting amicus briefs before the United States Supreme Court

"There's always money for pizza in a newsroom." - one of Terry's favorite budget items

"Always remember, don't let the piss-ants get you down."

"I can't wait to climb into my own bed later this
evening and feel the stray foot of my wife sneaking
over onto my side of the bed every now and then."

"Sehr gut!"

"Thanks muchly!"

"And there you have it!"



I miss you, Terry. And, for the record, I have forgiven you for making SPJ's executive committee stay in that, um, "worn" hotel in Memphis just because it had a guitar-shaped swimming pool!

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