Patterico's Pontifications


RIP Bradley J. Fikes

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:44 pm

Via Simon Jester comes awful news of the passing (in November) of a friend of the blog, Bradley J. Fikes:

San Diego Union-Tribune biotech writer and The Daily Aztec alumnus Bradley J. Fikes passed away on Nov. 20.

He passed away due to natural causes while at his home in Grantville, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the newspaper where Fikes worked for over two decades.

He was 61 years old.

Read the story and you’ll get a sense of the type of guy Bradley was:

“I think the first thing people would say about him is his tireless pursuit of the story,” [Union-Tribune feature writer Pam] Kragen said. “He was in the office seven days a week, he just loved what he did. Brad never lost his fire. From the day I met him until the day he died, he was so enthusiastic about reporting on stories. I think he felt like he was delivering a public service, that he was helping educate the public.”

Kragen said Fikes will be best remembered for his kind personality and eccentric way of dressing. He was a favorite in the newsroom, both well loved and well respected by those who knew him.

“He was just a very happy, sweet, outgoing guy,” Kragen said. “I’d say he was the most popular reporter at the paper, everyone knew him and everyone loved him. I would say (he will be remembered for) his personality and his colorful way of dressing.”

. . . .

“Sweetness” was the lesson [Union-Tribune science and technology writer Gary] Robbins felt he learned from Fikes. His even temper and poise were things that stood out to Robbins, at times in contrast to himself.

“When people were mean to him and whatnot he was very even-tempered and I’m not so much like that,” Robbins said. “As I watched the way he treated people if it was a difficult situation and people weren’t being as nice as they should’ve been he would still keep that stiff upper lip, he would smile, he wouldn’t lose his temper. He had poise, he had professionalism, he was a gentleman.”

A lot of people who used to frequent this blog would gather together online in the comments section of a blog run by Cathy Seipp called “Cathy’s World.” I believe my valued guest blogger Dana was originally a denizen of the comment section at Cathy’s World, as were Simon Jester (under another name), Mike K, Gary McVey, Dmac, LYT, and a host of others. And Bradley J. Fikes, who gave me countless stories over the years, such that literally dozens of my posts ended with the word “Thanks to Bradley J. Fikes.”

I met Bradley and Mike K (and a few other folks) at Cathy’s funeral. He seemed like a very nice man, just as he came across on the Internet.

I think you can tell a lot about Bradley J. Fikes (or at least what I thought about him) from a passage I wrote from a 2010 post in which I was seeking evidence about AGW. I decided to demand perfect politeness — a nearly impossible standard — because of the hot-button nature of the topic. And in my demand, you can see that one of the only people I trusted to meet it was Bradley J. Fikes:

This thread will employ the rule of excessive politeness. Nothing even remotely disparaging will be permitted. And I’m not keeping any part of a comment that violates the rule. Your comment that opens: “I’m surprised you would fall for AGW” followed by 10 paragraphs of polite and well researched material gets nuked, entirely. I could end up deleting 90-99 percent of all the comments, leaving only comments by Bradley J. Fikes. I don’t care. This is such a hot-button issue that I’m not putting up with even a milligram of B.S. or invective.

Now that’s unfair to some other long-time commenters who also are and always have been unfailingly polite, but you get the idea. When I thought of politeness online, I thought of a small group of people and he was one of them.

Bradley had a heart attack in 2010 and wrote a PSA to me via email that he allowed me to share with readers. I don’t know if the “natural causes” mentioned in the news story about included heart issues, but either way his advice is good, and worth looking up.


UPDATE: Simon Jester links to a scholarship that has been established in Bradley’s name. I have donated. It’s a nice idea.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

23 Responses to “RIP Bradley J. Fikes”

  1. I remember his comments. Rest in Peace, brother Bradly.

    felipe (023cc9)

  2. I made a comment the other day that I don’t really want to live into my 90s, mostly because I am afraid that my mental faculties will diminish and I will be a complete burden on people. But I know that sixty-one is far too early for anyone to check out, and I am saddened that Bradley J. Fikes wasn’t rewarded with more years on earth. You’re absolutely right, P, that he unfailingly debated as a perfect gentleman, always about the topic and never about the personality. Rest in peace.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  3. I was also one of those people who frequented Cathy Seipp’s blog. It was discussion on THAT blog mentioning some site named patterico that led to my migration to THIS blog after Cathy’s death. It’s also why I kept the name “norcal”, even though I live in Nevada now, so that people like Dana, who knew me from there, wouldn’t get confused. (Simon Jester, what was your handle at Cathy’s World?)

    Bradley was a frequent commenter on that site, and kept it going a bit post-Cathy, if memory serves. You’re right, Patterico, he was very gracious. It came through even with a medium as limited as a text-heavy blog. It seemed that he never lost that childlike enthusiasm and curiosity that we have when we’re young. I was shocked and saddened to hear of his death.

    norcal (42c8d0)

  4. By the way, does anybody know where Dmac and Gary McVey went? I miss those guys. (I know why Mike K doesn’t comment here anymore; he dislikes criticism of Trump.)

    norcal (42c8d0)

  5. Patterico, thank you so much. Bradley commented on my FB page about something the day before he passed.

    If you go to Bradley’s page on FB, there see many many nice comments.

    I don’t know how to honor such a kind and good man. Maybe a contribution to the San Diego Zoo.

    I don’t like beer, but I will toast him tonight.

    Thanks again, Patterico. We should all be remembered so kindly.

    Simon Jester (9ac1a0)

  6. What a great example of a genuinely nice person.

    Dustin (b8d6d1)

  7. Thanks for directing us to his Facebook page, Simon Jester. I am pleased (but not surprised) to see that Brother Bradley was a fan of the Babylon Bee.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  8. I went and looked at Cathy’s World again on the Wayback Machine. She also died too young, at 49.

    nk (dbc370)

  9. Nice tribute, P. It sounds like the world is poorer for his loss. This is the second time this weekend that this Abraham Lincoln quote has come across to me:

    “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

    Paul Montagu (e1b5a7)

  10. In a certain sense, everyone dies too young [omitting obvious exceptions like dictators and serial killers].
    But some people the “too young” is more apparent than than others.

    Kishnevi you knew I was a libertarian (0cb353)

  11. I went and looked at the link you posted to a 2010 thread.

    We should all be so lucky as to be associated with discourse on of that depth and quality. Despite the absolute best efforts of Patterico, JVW, Dana, DRJ, et al, ten short years have turned the general quality of American discourse to absolute, unqualified moronic trash. Bradley J. Fikes – whom I remember from the good old days – would (I hope) be proud to be associated with something better.

    Leviticus (7fcc89)

  12. UPDATE: Simon Jester links to a scholarship that has been established in Bradley’s name. I have donated. It’s a nice idea.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  13. Heart attack it was. The memorial was very nice, with some excellent pics of him by some cartoonists from the paper.

    Luke Thompson (e35e3b)

  14. RIP brother Bradley. You are missed.

    JD (734fdd)

  15. Thanks for the go fund me place, Simon.
    Will do.

    mg (8cbc69)

  16. It’s interesting to me to see who takes the time to comment on Bradley and his example. Thank you very much to those who remember him kindly, and who appreciate the way he conducted his life.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  17. The world is poorer for the loss of a thoughtful and kind man. I’m sorry for pain of people that knew him. I only lurked back at that point but I do remember his comments.

    Time123 (dba73f)

  18. Brad was one of my best friends, as indeed he was to everyone who knew him. He would give you not just the shirt off his back (and I saw his back hair more than once) but the laptop computer, literally. I know because I was often the recipient.

    This was one of his favorite sites, and he’d be honored to merit an entire post. Indeed, he never let a disagreement bother him, perhaps, as he’d tell you, because as a gay libertarian, he disagreed with most people to some extent. We’d never have met without Cathy’s World back in the day – the sort of thing that I don’t imagine happens much now in an ever more polarizing climate.

    He loved his work and lived life to the fullest. And for those who wonder, he did remain friends with Mike K offline.

    Luke Thompson (e35e3b)

  19. “…And for those who wonder, he did remain friends with Mike K offline….”

    Of course he did. Bradley was always, an old fashioned polite fellow. He never, ever discussed his own health, personal life, or anything involving himself in our conversations…yet he was a kind conversationalist with deep concerns over friends in a wide variety of places, personal and professional. Including me.

    I can only think of twice I *ever* heard him say anything negative about another person, and it was no one anyone here knows.


    Simon Jester (9ac1a0)

  20. Dammit. He was great. Appreciate the info, Patterico.

    JRM (c80289)

  21. By the way, does anybody know where Dmac and Gary McVey went?

    I do not know.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  22. Thanks, Pat!

    norcal (42c8d0)

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