July 18th, 2024

Herald family experiencing loss this week

By Lethbridge Herald on March 1, 2024.

Al Beeber – Managing editor

We’ve all heard the term ‘writer’s block.’ It’s an issue we who write for a living have all probably struggled with occasionally during our careers.

In the fast-paced world of deadlines, it’s a problem that we don’t have time for and one which can be frustrating when the clock is ticking.

Coming up with weekly column ideas after 44 years isn’t easy either. Since my first one in May of 1980, I’ve done a column for most of my career. Although there were a few years when it was sporadic, I’ve tried to be consistent.

And with this being my last year in the business, I’m really trying to make each week count.

I’ve struggled this week, though. A lot has been on my mind since Monday which was the anniversary of the day in 2019 I got a phone call while covering the Little Big Town concert at the Enmax Centre that my dad was in ICU in the Strathmore hospital after suffering a heart attack. 

February 26 will forever be my day of infamy because it marked the end of my dad’s life as we knew it. 

A few days later I saw him alive for the last time and a week later I had to begin the arduous, exhausting and frustrating journey as the executor of his estate, a nightmare that lasted three years.

And while I think of that personal loss this week, our Herald family is going through two losses of its own.

Our former Lifestyles editor Trish Hagen – known as Brayne when she worked here – died last week, a loss I know will be felt by those who worked with her over the years. 

Trish was a stalwart of the Herald newsroom for many years and made an enormous contribution to our newspaper during her tenure. And I’m sure I speak for many of my colleagues when I say her loss in many ways is ours like it is her family’s. 

And I extend my belated condolences to her family from our newsroom.

We are also experiencing another loss this week – a retirement – of a colleague who has been part of the Herald  family since he was 12 years old. 

Our press foreman Rod Peake was not only a colleague to us but a friend. And he’s a friend I’m going to dearly miss during my final year in the newsroom.

Rod and I were born a day apart in the old Lethbridge municipal hospital so for all intents and purposes, we’ve known each other all our lives. 

Knowing Rod as I do he was probably the loudest one in the nursery and I probably egged him on as I’m still doing here.

We have a running joke here that I’m his elder and he has to respect me which has long sparked guffaws between us. 

The respect is mutual and Rod is one of the hardest working, genuine human beings I’ve ever known.

While I’m older by about 20 hours, with his experience at the paper, Rod was our elder statesman when he left the pressroom following his shift on Wednesday night, leaving the back door in the dark for his home where he could start his future.

I sincerely hope that future is a long and enjoyable one for my pal whose voice I will miss hearing every day we’re working the same days, whose bantering and socializing I have enjoyed since we first became friends so many years ago.

We’ve pulled a few pranks on each other over the years – perhaps including  onr Wednesday night while Rod was in the basement – which will always be among my treasured memories here and I hope that we’ll soon be able to spend some time when I retire reminiscing with fishing rods in our hands on lakes near or far. 

Rod is one of those rare human beings who will never be forgotten in the workplace. He keeps things real, which to me is one of his most enduring characteristics. What you see is what you get in Rod, a man who is passionate, caring and loyal to the core. 

Rod is my kind of person, and Rod if you read this while enjoying your morning coffee today on your second day of retirement, please know you’ll always be in my heart and my thoughts. You’re more than a friend, Rod, you’re a brother.

And I know so many others feel the same. Congratulations on a well-deserved retirement.

Share this story:

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
pursuit diver

Condolences for your loss! I have always appreciated your team whenever I have been in the Herald and applaud your staff.