Charley and I also believed that many issues defy simple party affiliation. In fact, we shared many views: disdain for public subsidies for professional sports, and a belief that lawsuits are a basic American right and that newsrooms are filled with some of the smartest and hardest-working people you will ever meet.
There was more to Charley than what readers saw in the paper.
He lived for — and constantly worried about — his children. He gave his daughter a .38 pistol for her 18th birthday. He never went to college but was an avid reader of everything from Russian literature to "The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire."
The only time he ever went on Fox News with Bill O'Reilly, Charley incurred the wrath of the aggressive host for arguing that suspected terrorists shouldn't be killed without a trial. Charley didn't back down, even when O'Reilly began calling him names. Charley was never asked back.
Charley retired in 2001, shortly before I made the transition from reporter to columnist.
In his final column, Reese made a number of observations that still resonate with me today.
He wrote: "I've always believed a journalist has a duty to keep tracking the truth even when it tracks into unpopular territory."
He said: "I've noticed over the years there seems to be fewer and fewer people who know how to disagree agreeably."
And he made sure readers understood: "The Orlando Sentinel has never yielded to pressure. They have never censored my column."
I don't think either of us would work for an institution that handled things any other way.
The last time I saw Charley was at a kids' basketball game. His grandchildren were playing my daughter's team. And the Reeses schooled us.
I remember Charley was already looking feebler than he did back at the paper. And as he started to climb down the bleachers, I extended a hand to offer him help.
That was a mistake.
His eyes locked on mine and made it clear that he didn't want assistance from me or anyone else.
Charley was proud, strong and independent.
Just as his columns were.
And just as newspapers are supposed to be.
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