Tuesday, January 22, 2019

R.I.P. Pat Colander

Just got some very shocking news--my good friend Pat Colander passed away.

I knew she had cancer, and I knew she had been undergoing treatment for a while, but I had no idea this day was near. I'm in shock.

I met Pat almost twenty years ago when I was working with John Landecker. She was the editor of Lake Magazine at the time, and they were doing a story about John. In our first conversation I mentioned that I was a writer too, and she asked me to write an article for her magazine on the spot. I did. She liked it, and I wrote many more.

When Landecker's show ended, she encouraged me to write full-time. And I did.

My first two books "The Radio Producer's Handbook" and "$everance" were both championed by Pat in the pages of her magazine. She sent her friend Andy Shaw to write about the first one. Our mutual friend John Landecker to write about the second.

When she moved over to Shore Magazine to be the editor there, I moved with her. I wrote even more for her there, including the column that came to be my pride and joy--Father Knows Nothing.

When it came out in book form, Pat gave me an enthusiastic endorsement on the back cover.

Pat was always encouraging, always supportive. She was a great cheerleader for me and all the writers she employed. It was thanks to Pat that I was nominated several times for Lisagor Awards. I had no idea what that even was until I was nominated for Father Knows Nothing.

When Dave & I started up Eckhartz Press, Pat came to us with a book idea. She wanted to print some of the great articles from her writing days (from The Reader, The Tribune, etc). She was an absolutely gifted writer, and those articles make "Hugh Hefner's First Funeral and Other Tales of Love & Death in Chicago" a must read. We weren't surprised at all when it won the Book of the Year award in 2016. It's that good.

As long as we are in business at Eckhartz Press, it will remain in print. It deserves to be.

I'm a little taken aback by this news. You only encounter so many truly special people in your life, and when one of them is suddenly gone, it's a bit overwhelming.

I'm happy I got to know her. I'm happy to have seen the tremendous example she set for how to treat people, how to be generous in spirit, and how to be giving to others.

Rest in peace, Pat. We miss you already.