I was pained last week to hear of the death of Mhari Saito, a bright and hardworking journalist who spent some great years here at WHYY.
I worked at the station in the mid-’80s and returned for freelance work in 2000. Mhari was here in between, so we never worked in the same newsroom. But I heard her reports and felt her presence. When I saw her out on stories I could see the respect she commanded, and I know from conversations with her and others she was a force for integrity at the station.
Mhari moved to Ohio and worked with distinction in public radio while she and her husband started a family. Last year the Associated Press named her the state’s best radio reporter.
Mhari and I traded emails occasionally over the years, and when she was diagnosed with cancer, all her friends here were pulling for her. She died at 41, leaving her husband and two daughters.
She was a fine journalist and a great person. Read more about Mhari and hear her voice in this remembrance by David C. Barnett.
Bob Edgar (1944-2013)
Bob Edgar died Tuesday of a heart attack at age 69. He was the president and CEO of Common Cause, but I remember him as a six-term congressman from Pennsylvania’s 7th District and one of the most decent men I ever met in politics.
Edgar came into Congress with the post-Watergate reform class in 1974. Though he was a liberal Democrat in a Republican-friendly district, he managed to win re-election five times, even though the GOP came after him again and again with formidable candidates and well-funded campaigns.
I covered a couple of those battles and was always amazed when he managed to survive once again. I concluded he was re-elected because his constituents understood that he cared about people and worked hard for them, regardless of party affiliation or ideology.
He left the seat in 1986 to challenge Arlen Specter for U.S. Senate. It always seemed to me to be a hill too steep to climb, and it turned out it was. Edgar went on to head the National Council of Churches and later, in 2007, went to Common Cause.
Washington could use more people like him.