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Co-worker, friend was old-school construction reporter

By Jan Basina

On a sad note this week, my friend and former co-worker, Gary Below, died one year ago on April 1.

I worked with Gary for almost five years and I’m sure he would be mortified to find out that I’m blogging about him. Sorry, Gary.

The one-year anniversary of longtime data construction reporter Gary Below's death is April 1.

The one-year anniversary of the death of longtime data construction reporter Gary Below is April 1.

Gary worked at The Daily Reporter as a construction data reporter for more than 30 years. Back in the day, I’m told, there were bid openings to attend, bid items to write up by hand, and bid tabs were frantically taken over the phone to meet deadline.

And Gary enjoyed being right in the middle of the frenzy.

Gary enjoyed talking to his compatriots at the Courthouse or City Hall — that was his territory, along with Racine County and other parts of southeastern Wisconsin.

I don’t think Gary ever really mastered surfing the Web or, for that matter, computers. He was old school — a roll-up-your-shirt-sleeves, hands-on type of guy. But he tried his best to adapt to the new technology. And when it got to be too frustrating, he just walked away and went outside to take a couple of deep drags of a cigarette.

Maybe some of you out there were privileged to cross paths with Gary. If so and you would like to share a story or two about Gary, please do so in the comments section below.

In honor of Gary, we will be noshing on some of his favorite foods here in the office on his anniversary. No liquor, though. Too bad, because I hear Gary wasn’t averse to imbibing in a glass or two.

So here’s a toast to you, Gary. Here’s hoping all your deadlines have been met on your journey.

Jan Basina is a data reporter at The Daily Reporter. Check back with BidBlog on Tuesday for another tribute to Gary Below.

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