Monday, October 16, 2006
A version of this will appear in this coming week's edition, as part of The Skinny:
If there is an afterlife in which the departed can witness the goings-on here on Earth, Chris Limberis was pissed last Friday, Oct. 13. Really, really pissed.
The attention-shy reporter, who passed away last November at the age of 47 after a fierce battle with leukemia, was inducted into the Arizona Newspapers Hall of Fame last Friday. About 60 people attended the induction ceremony, part of the Arizona Newspapers Association annual convention in Scottsdale. Three others—Elvira Espinoza and Luis Manuel Ortiz of La Voz, and Brendan FitzSimons, a longtime Wick Communications publisher—also earned induction.
While the induction ceremonies were joyous occasions for the other three inductees (as well as the two inductees into the Arizona Interscholastic Press Association Hall of Fame), who were all present with family and friends, Limberis' induction was bittersweet. His brother, Paul Limberis, flew in from Colorado just for the ceremony. Also present, along with some of Limberis’ former Weekly and Arizona Daily Star colleagues, was his close friend Beth Borozan.
ANA Executive Director John Fearing showed a brief slide show featuring various family pictures of Limberis, ending with a slide of Dave Fitzsimmons' touching "Tucson Boulevard" cartoon, published in the Star shortly after Limberis’ death. Fitz’s words from the cartoon provided the inscription for Limbo’s Hall of Fame plaque: "He loved three things: afflicting the comfortable, comforting the afflicted, and Tucson."
While we could go on about the induction ceremony, we won't. We'll just say this: We miss the hell out of Limberis around here. If you're a regular reader of The Skinny, chances are, you miss him, too. As we said when we memorialized Limbo shortly after his death: Chris was only a so-so writer, and he could be a pit bull when he attached to a topic—he would not want to let it go, no matter what. He was also weirdly private; his home voicemail was literally full for years straight, and he forbade co-workers from visiting him in the hospital when he was sick.
But he was one of the best pure reporters this town has ever seen—if not the best. We know The Skinny has not been the same since his death. Nor has the Weekly. Nor has journalism in this town as a whole. Bad guys are getting away with more now, because with his death, years of institutional knowledge, relationships and public-records knowledge were lost forever.
He is missed, and we're grateful that the ANA added Limbo to its Hall of Fame—even if Chris would have shuddered at the recognition. It's deeply deserved.