The Jury Talks Back

1/19/2020

RIP Bradley J. Fikes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 5:47 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.

RIP.

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