A Short Life, Well Lived

Thursday, February 5, 2015

There are many ways to evaluate or judge a solitary life, but there is no question that we often are way off base in what could be called the essential metrics.

Ryan Rogers, 11-year reporter and sports editor for the Clay County Times-Democrat, was indeed very successful in what may be termed the traditional standards of measurement. He demonstrated his keen intelligence at a very young age by becoming the youngest spelling bee winner in his school. That was a precursor to his later career choice in using that linguistic ability to earn a living as a newspaper reporter.

Along the way, Ryan showed another great talent -- making and keeping many very good friends throughout Clay County and Northeast Arkansas.

He loved athletics and, in addition to becoming a very good reporter, developed into a top-notch sports editor. He traveled throughout the area following the fortunes of the Cougars and the Mohawks, reporting in an accurate and positive manner the accomplishments of our young athletes.

Ryan always was focused on the well-being of his community and, several years ago, made the decision to serve his native Greenway area on the Clay County Quorum Court. He quickly demonstrated a sense of good judgment and progressive thinking in his service on that legislative body.

In his short 35 years, Ryan Rogers accomplished enough in the "traditional" sense for his life clearly to be called a success.

But, as we all know, there is the underlying human element in how we judge or evaluate a life -- in that regard, Ryan was a success beyond measure.

Over the past several days so many people have come up to Nancy and me to share how much Ryan meant to them personally. There was such a consistency in their words -- he was always polite and considerate, positive in his outlook and more concerned about them than himself. Never will there be a stronger ambassador for a newspaper than Ryan Rogers.

It was more difficult than I can say to walk into the old newspaper office Monday morning and realize that Ryan will never again be there with his friendly smile, his witty and wise observations or his remarkable way with words in his stories and columns. Newspapering in Eastern Clay County Arkansas will never be the same without him.

A great aspect of journalism is the gift of being a part of history. One's stories may indeed stand the test of time. Ryan wrote thousands of stories on so many different subjects in his tenure at our newspaper. It is pleasing and comforting to us that his writing will be an integral part of the recorded history and fabric of this part of Northeast Arkansas for years and years to come.

A time-honored (and probably soon-to-vanish) journalistic practice has been to place the symbol -30- at the end of stories. There are various theories as to why that practice began, none completely verified. We just know it is a tradition that held strong sway with veteran newspapermen for years.

We consider it to be a sign of respect within the profession to use that symbol at the end of the life of a fellow journalist. Ryan -- we salute you with a -30- for a job well-done and a life well-lived. Thank you so much for passing our way -- newspaperman, community leader, colleague and never-to-be-forgotten friend.