Gary Below spent more than 35 years providing Wisconsinâ€™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.
â€œHe was very welcoming and open,â€ said Ann Richmond, vice president and publisher of The Daily Reporter. â€œHe was the name and face of The Daily Reporter for me in many ways. He always went about his work with a great joy.â€
Doug Franecki, senior estimator at CG Schmidt Inc., Milwaukee, worked with Below for 20 years to post bid listings in the paper.
â€œPhysically, 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,â€ Franecki said. â€œThatâ€™s definitely a loss for the construction industry. Will there be a replacement for him? Who knows? He was one in a million.â€
Below helped create The Daily Reporterâ€™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 Belowâ€™s ability to tell stories. But behind his theatrical character, he had a great sensitivity for people and regard for peopleâ€™s feelings, they said.
â€œHe always made you feel like the things you were telling him, he was interested in,â€ Knoedler said. â€œHe made you feel important.â€
Private services will be held for Below on Saturday in Oshkosh. He is survived by his mother, Violet; brother, James; nephew Judd; nephewâ€™s daughter Kylara; and longtime friend Earl Konrad.