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David was hard to dislike, easy to under estimate

David Farrell was one of those people whom other people found it hard to dislike. One reason for that was his enthusiastic optimism.

Friendly, seemingly easy going and optimistic, David nearly always had a smile on his face, traits which made it easy to under estimate him. David was always watching, though. He wanted to know what made people tick, especially those to whom he was talking, and even more especially if they were people in positions of authority, those who made decisions that affected other people in fundamental ways. That’s part of what made him so effective as a reporter, especially of politics.

Many things are required to be a good reporter. Chief among them is curiosity, of which David had an inexhaustible amount. That is followed closely by being able to relate those things that the curiosity uncovered and to do so interestingly and with precision of detail, and David was a natural storyteller.

David told his stories without making the people about whom he wrote so angry they wouldn’t talk to him again when he approached them on another story. In fact, many of them, even those about whom he reported unflattering information, came to admire and trust him.

David was a reporter that sources eagerly called with information they wanted to share. Reporters spend much of their working lives calling people and leaving messages, seeking a return call, often not getting a return call without repeated calls and messages to the point some would call back just to stop receiving all a reporter’s calls and messages.

David did lots of that, but people with whom he had worked previously seldom failed to return his call. They understood that David had enough sources he might get the information he wanted from someone else and they didn’t want that. Besides, they just liked talking to him; he was that kind of person. Also, they knew invariably that he would be fair and report both sides of a question. As nearly everyone who responded to questions for a feature story on David following his unexpected death stated, if you knew how he felt about something he was reporting on, you wouldn’t find that bias in his stories.

David was a most unprepossessing person. You would learn nothing of importance from just looking at him or from just a casual conversation. His athletic ability, his intelligence and his deep religious faith weren’t on display. Actually, to learn much about those traits, you had to talk to friends who had known David for a long time and who had held deep conversations with him. David didn’t brag or show off.

David was just David, a fine friend who will be greatly missed by his legion of friends.

By Will Sullivan