* There are a few of you, I hope, who remember Reid Hanley from his days as a sports reporter for The Eagle. He was here when I started, back in 1974, and was one of the many who helped show me the ropes as a young newspaper guy who thought he knew a lot, but didn’t.
Reid was diagnosed with lung cancer almost two years ago and news came today that he died last night, in his sleep.
Reid left Wichita, where he went to college at Wichita State, in 1976 and joined The Chicago Tribune. He did a lot of everything there, but was happiest when he had the golf beat and covered the PGA Tour. But the great thing about Reid is that he was always happy. He was one of those guys who woke up and thought about everything positive that was going to happen that day.
I never lost touch with Reid, even though he was so far away. I remember him letting me house-sit back when I was a wild 20-year-old. During those few days, I injured myself falling out of the back of a jeep because I was young and stupid. When I told Reid about what had happened, he just laughed.
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Reid covered high school sports when he was at The Eagle and he was a tough act to follow. He had a genuine way about him and the coaches he wrote about had great respect for him and the way he went about his job.
Having grown up in Iowa, Reid loved his Iowa Hawkeyes. And he also loved his Wichita State Shockers. When I covered WSU in the early 1990s, Reid would always show up for the road games at either Bradley or Illinois State. Sometimes both.
I went to my first game at Wrigley Field with Reid 12-15 years ago or so. He showed me the bright lights of Chicago several times, putting me up in his suburban home. I’m sorry we didn’t get to play golf at Cog Hill. That was something we often talked about.
I last saw Reid two years ago, when I was in Chicago to attend – what else? – and Eagles concert at the United Center. Reid was a big Eagles fan, too, and he was enthusiastic about going to that show. We had a great time, as we always did. A few weeks later, he was diagnosed with cancer.
Reid sent out frequent correspondence about his battle and was optimistic throughout. The irony is that he never smoked.
He was only 64. He retired a few years ago while his wife, who is a features editor at The Tribune, continued to work. They took awesome vacations because Reid was adventurous and loved life. He’s gone far too early, but he left his mark on many people. I’m lucky to have been one of them.