Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dave Poniers: Rest in Peace

Earlier this week I learned that Dave Poniers was gravely ill in hospice. I knew Dave through my years as a reporter at the Flint Journal. I would often get the good-natured Poniers needle when I wandered into sports during my afternoon shifts at the paper. "Good to know there's no crime tonight," he would bark at me when I would stop to visit. But I couldn't write anything better today that former sports reporter Bill Khan wrote on his Facebook account this morning:

Dave Poniers
"I didn't just lose a former boss tonight to cancer. Dave Poniers, the sports editor at The Flint Journal for most of my 30 years there, was a friend and was also one of the two people most responsible for any success I had as a sports writer. (The other was former Mott journalism instructor Cy Leder, who sadly also died from cancer a few years back.) I will be forever grateful for how Dave went to bat for me to get me a full-time job back in 1988. Even back then, full-time jobs weren't just created out of thin air on newspaper staffs. He had enough faith in me to stick his neck out for me. Who knows what would have happened had he not persuaded editor Al Peloquin to hire me full-time once I completed college? Jobs aren't easy to come by in this industry. Thanks to Dave, I had a fun job that sufficiently paid the bills. I had some great experiences, met some great people. The last time I communicated with him via e-mail back in the spring, he agre
ed to be a reference on my resume and told me he had lobbied on my behalf when he heard I was being laid off at the end of December. Dave proved you could be a good guy and still have the respect of your employees. As a member of his sports staff, one of my motivations was wanting to do a good job for him to reward him for everything he did for me - hey, even he had bosses who were judging him based on the productivity of his staff. We had a great staff, a great work environment and put out a heck of a sports section! For most of my 30 years at The Journal, I could honestly say I had the greatest job in the world. Working for Dave had a lot to do with it. I was sickened to hear earlier Wednesday that he was dying of cancer. Then, just 12 hours later, I got the sad news that he died peacefully, surrounded by his family. He wasn't that old - maybe his late 60s. I just wish I would've had a chance to tell him what he meant to me. A lesson learned, the hard way ...

Here's Brendan Savage's take on MLive.


JAMorrison said...

I am so sorry to hear this sad news. What a great guy, he should have had so many more years.

Kim Crawford said...

Everyone who worked with Dave agrees, Julie. The comments/columns by Bill and Brendan say it all. We wish his family peace; certainly those in Dave's old newspaper community are saddened to hear this.