Sunday’s Boston Herald featured a fond farewell to former reporter Joe Heaney, described by a co-worker as “just a wonderful man with a big, kind heart and witticisms to the end of time.”
His time ended, Heaney received a two-gun salute, first in a Herald Staff obituary:
MONT VERNON, N.H. — Joseph Patrick Heaney was an artist with words who could cut to the core of a story in a single sentence — a “poetic version of John Wayne” — say those who knew the master horseman and award-winning reporter for the Boston Herald and other newspapers.
Mr. Heaney died peacefully Friday at Community Hospice House in Merrimack after a brief struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was 82.
Herald columnist Peter Gelzinis contributed this to the Irish wake:
What made Joe Heaney such a gifted reporter were things that could never be taught. They could only be lived … fearlessly.
Late Friday afternoon, this noble gentleman with a devilish Irish wit, broad shoulders and wise, compassionate eyes succumbed to cancer at the age of 82.
“He was a guy who managed to travel from the depths of sadness to the tops of joy,” said Paul Sullivan, his longtime friend and Boston Herald colleague.
To lose three of seven children to illness and still find the will to chase fires, dog politicians, huddle with cops and empathize with a mother lamenting the murder of her child was the truest testament to Joe’s singular strength of character.
He was a unique blend of ink-stained wretch and expert horseman, who once combined those skills to retrace the ride of William Dawes from Boston to Lexington in full Colonial dress.
Helpful file photo:
They don’t make ’em like that anymore, do they?