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‘Bill turned out to be masterful’

I first met Bill Roberts in 1994, when Morley Ballantine introduced us. I was not impressed – he appeared too young to be an editor at a newspaper.

Morely suggested that I be one of four local writers for a new series. My assignment would be to cover human population, with possible attention to other environmental issues. The late Mike McLachlan would cover legal subjects. I cannot remember the other writers or their subjects.

So much for first impressions. Bill turned out to be masterful. He gave me free rein, except when I went too far. One example was when I exceeded my word count by 50%. Instead of being critical, he just sent a short message, “remember your word count is 750.”

The column started before I was comfortable with email and I carried floppy disks to The Durango Herald office each month. When I was lucky and Bill was at his desk, we would often have a long conversation. It soon became obvious that he knew a lot about what was happening in Durango, in Colorado and in the world in general. He had an amazing memory for facts, a sweet sense of humor and always seemed relaxed.

Bill was a good friend to me and to many in Durango. He did a lot to maintain the quality of the Herald. I miss him already.

Richard Grossman