The fact that I can't remember the last time I saw Kurt Van der Dussen didn't lesson the impact when I read in the Herald-Times last week of his death. I knew enough about his condition to not be shocked, but still. As odd as this may sound to those who know the personalities, Kurt was a mentor and a role model to me. He was also a great Bloomington character who will never be replaced.
Kurt died June 9 at Indiana University Hospital in Indianapolis, where he had been undergoing treatment for lung cancer. He was 59. H-T Editor Bob Zaltsberg wrote an outstanding account of Kurt as a person and journalist on Wednesday's editorial page, as did the news staff in a story that quoted many of his long-time sources in town.
I was exposed to Kurt's unique brand of journalism from the day I started at the H-T in 1985, fresh out of grad school and brimming with journalistic ideals. My first beat at the paper was county government, which Kurt had covered for eight years. I literally followed in his footsteps.
Bloomington's progressive community lost one of its greatest friends and allies with Roberta McCloskey's passing last week. Hers are shoes that will never be filled.
To honor Roberta's lifetime commitment to social justice, The Bloomington Alternative last week offered column space for her friends and admirers. Ann Colbert sent the following:
Roberta was a steady, tireless worker in political campaigns. Her clear-sighted approaches to social change and her absolute personal belief in grassroots activism were never relinquished, even when her outspoken views contradicted those of her well-known husband.
Indiana's environment lost one of the best friends it has ever had - or ever will have - when Jane Dustin passed away the day after Thanksgiving at her home in Huntertown just north of Fort Wayne.
Former Hoosier Environmental Council Executive Director and close Dustin friend Jeff Stant put the loss this way in an e-mail to the Sierra Club's Hoosier-Topics list: "She wasn't just a well-known activist. Not just one of our leaders. When it came to the creeks, the rivers, the lakes and wetlands of our beloved state, she was the one who never rested. She was the leader. She was our leader."
"Just a smile passing by is enough..." Tom Donohue, November 22, 1950-November 19, 2003
Those who crossed paths with Tom Donohue, proprietor of TD's CDs on Kirkwood, are now flooded with memories of his generous kindness and support of music, particularly local music. Losing Tom will be felt by all who have known him--be their acquaintanceship brief or long, in passing or intimate. No local businessperson is likely to match his subtle encouragement, his thoughtful suggestions, or his wry humor.