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Longtime reporter dies at age 74

By: Rick Benedict//April 3, 2009//

Longtime reporter dies at age 74

By: Rick Benedict//April 3, 2009//

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Gary Below
Gary Below

Sean Ryan
[email protected]

Gary Below spent more than 35 years providing Wisconsin’s construction industry with the timely, accurate bid information it needed.

Below, a construction data reporter who joined The Daily Reporter in 1971, died Wednesday of natural causes. He was 74.

Below will be remembered inside the newsroom for setting a high standard for collecting and distributing bid information.

“He was very welcoming and open,” said Ann Richmond, vice president and publisher of The Daily Reporter. “He was the name and face of The Daily Reporter for me in many ways. He always went about his work with a great joy.”

Doug Franecki, senior estimator at CG Schmidt Inc., Milwaukee, worked with Below for 20 years to post bid listings in the paper.

“Physically, I never met him, but he was always a real gentleman to talk to, and, if you had a question, he would always get you an answer,” Franecki said. “That’s definitely a loss for the construction industry. Will there be a replacement for him? Who knows? He was one in a million.”

Below helped create The Daily Reporter’s bidding section and took the paper beyond its start as a public notice publication, said Keith Barber, a construction data reporter who had worked with Below since 1979.

In addition to his work, Below served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and acted in local theater.

Barber and Ann Knoedler, lead construction data reporter, recalled Below’s ability to tell stories. But behind his theatrical character, he had a great sensitivity for people and regard for people’s feelings, they said.

“He always made you feel like the things you were telling him, he was interested in,” Knoedler said. “He made you feel important.”

Private services will be held for Below on Saturday in Oshkosh. He is survived by his mother, Violet; brother, James; nephew Judd; nephew’s daughter Kylara; and longtime friend Earl Konrad.


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