Sunday, September 28, 2014

To Absent Friends - Sally Kalson, Bob Kasperik

Melancholy Happy Trails go out today to two Absent Friends....

First, long-time Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist and reporter Sally Kalson died on Friday at the age of 63, a victim of ovarian cancer.

A liberal voice at the PG and in the community, Ms. Kalson's Sunday column was must reading, not only for what she had to say, but for her general observations about life and the world around us.  One such column from 2012, about her daughter's graduation from college, was chosen by the PG to be reprinted in her traditional Sunday spot on the Op-Ed page today in tribute to her.  Read it, please.

Not that I always agreed with her, mind you.  I vividly recall a column she wrote in about 1990 or so where she ripped Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania over some customer service issue.  That particular column caused quite a bit of consternation among those of us who had to represent Blue Cross to its clients and the public.  She more than made up for whatever headache she gave the Blues in more recent years with her columns that excoriated UPMC Health Plan and how it has chosen to represent the public's greater interests.

Sally Kalson's voice will be missed.


I first got to know Bob Kasperik as a voice on the radio with a couple of other guys who did weekly trivia shows on the old Doug Hoerth radio show.  In 2001, I met one of those guys, Jim Haller, a fellow SABR member, and in more recent years, through the magic of Facebook, I got to know Bob Kasperik, and even thought we never met face-to-face, I came to consider him a friend throughout the many "conversations" that we had on Facebook.  Bob died the past Thursday at the age of 68

You can check out his death notice in both the Post-Gazette and the Tribune Review today to learn all about all that Bob has contributed to to his schools, St. Vincent Prep and Duquesne University, about how he served his community, Derry in Westmoreland County, for over forty years as a pharmacist, and the large and loving family he leaves behind.

I am going to miss all those knowledgeable, caustic, and humorous comments that he had to make over the years about the Pirates, Steelers, and Duquesne basketball, as well as the comments on popular culture, particularly old time and current rock and roll.

I am sorry that I never actually got to meet Bob, but I am very grateful to Facebook for exposing me to such a terrific guy.

RIP Sally Kalson and Bob Kasperik.

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