A former Palm Beach Post reporter, Rob Hiaasen, is among the victims in the tragic newsroom shooting in Maryland. He worked for our local newspaper in the 1990's.
His former colleagues, Tom O'Hara, former managing editor, Scott Eyman, former feature writer and books editor, and Mark Buzek, graphics editor, all met at Phipps Park in West Palm Beach to reflect on the past and remember their friend.
Hiaasen used to throw the baseball around at this park during lunch with his colleague.
"Writers, journalists tend to be aggressive, competitive, prickly and you can drop the 'LY', joked Eyman. "But he wasn't particularly competitive. He wanted to see the best in everybody's work, and I always got the feeling he thought everybody's best work was better than his."
His former managing editor, Tom O'Hara, said Hiaasen could handle all sorts of stories.
"He was just a spectacular writer," said O'Hara, who commented on how he'd drive hours just to say something nice about his former employee.
"I know we sound like parrots, but he was just a gentle giant," said Buzek.
Eyman said Hiaasen always had a half smile on his face.
"He never thought he was lord of the jungle. Always in awe of bigger, stronger, louder writers, but there were no stronger, louder writers, but he didn't know that," he said.