It has been a year this month since The Herald-Mail newsroom lost two former co-workers.
Larry Yanos died Oct. 2, 2010, and Marlo Barnhart followed him just 10 days later. The irony is that they worked for decades on the same paper, The Daily Mail, Larry in sports and Marlo as the cops and courts reporter.
When they passed away last year, I wanted to write a tribute to them, but I was too close to the situation and I couldn't pull myself together to do it. After a year, I feel more comfortable in doing so.
I had been having breakfast with Larry on Fridays for about a year before his death. He had retired and I was off on Fridays, so we met in Hagerstown to reminisce and talk about everything, and to do what we both liked to do — eat.
I thought I knew Larry pretty well, but after his passing, I read where he had a sports collection that was so extensive that his family held an auction to sell his memorabilia. He never mentioned that to me in the 30-plus years I knew him.
Oh, one time he told me he couldn't find something because his room was cluttered, but I never imagined it was cluttered with valuable collectors' items.
Looking back, I guess Larry was a pretty private guy. He had a subtle sense of humor and a big heart. He would go out of his way to help people and do little things for them. At his wake, a woman stood up and said Larry had coached her son in youth basketball and at the end of the season had given all of the players bobbleheads — and they all had the same color hair as the player who received them.
Larry knew local sports and was recognized for his years as sports editor of The Daily Mail by being inducted into the Washington County Sports Hall of Fame posthumously. He would have liked that.
Marlo was the most caring person I knew. She always was asking me about my family and knew the first names of each of my four sons. Heck, I call them by the wrong first name occasionally (Hey, Andy, I mean Vinnie, I mean Will, I mean Matt ...).
When someone in the newsroom was sick or had a death in the family, I would be thinking we should do something for them, while Marlo already had a card pulled from her desk and was passing it around the newsroom.
Her desk was like a Hallmark store, with a card for every occasion.
But Marlo was a bulldog when it came to reporting. She had more sources than anyone in the newsroom, and most of the news tips she received proved to be accurate.
Marlo had a knack for writing about people and some of the "A Life Remembered" stories she wrote after people died were some of her most well-received stories.
Marlo wrote a lot of front-page stories, but she also took great care in compiling the church page information because she knew it was important to those who attended those churches.
I miss Larry and Marlo. I think about them often. When you work with people in the same office for more than 30 years, they become more than co-workers.
They become your friends, too.