So it is that we find ourselves on Father's Day mourning a man who was one of the pre-eminent journalists of his generation - but, more important, a man who was passionate about his role as a father and a son.
Tim Russert pursued his work as NBC Washington Bureau chief and moderator of Meet the Press with tough intelligence and joyous energy. He doggedly challenged politicians, Republicans and Democrats, and explained the tangled politics of Washington in fair-minded terms Americans appreciated.
In a town where self-importance is a disease, Mr. Russert was a simple man, proud of his blue-collar roots. He loved his dad, "Big Russ," with a passion that spawned a book that celebrated the values he learned while growing up in a working-class neighborhood of Buffalo, N.Y. And he cherished his relationship with his son, Luke, who graduated this spring from Boston College.
His careful preparation, integrity, broad grasp of the issues and easy empathy with those he questioned offered a compelling model of American journalism at its best. He will be missed.