It is with sadness tonight that I read of the death of longtime Neosho Daily News photographer Loren Lamoreaux.
During my years at The Carthage Press, I had dozens of occasions to run into the Daily's sports tandem of Editor Dean Keeling and photographer Loren Lamoreaux at Neosho's home and away games. It is hard to believe that neither of them is with us any more.
At tournament time, I had many an occasion to see both of them enjoying the fare in the hospitality rooms. It still seems strange to see a Neosho bench without Dean Keeling sitting at the end of it, or the area underneath a Wildcat basket without Loren Lamoreaux's metal folding chair.
The folding chair, Neosho fans will remember, was to help Loren, who kept up a staggering pace with his photography well into his 80s. It was a matter of respect that the chair was provided for him, not only at Neosho, but also when he was at other schools in the old Southwest Conference.
The departure of Loren, following so soon after Dean Keeling left the building for the final time, and only a few months after the death of longtime Nevada Daily Mail Sports Editor Kelly Bradham has deprived this area of three of the last of the growling curmudgeonly type who provided southwest Missouri sports coverage with such distinctive flavor.
When you saw what Dean Keeling and Kelly Bradham wrote about Neosho and Nevada, respectively, or when you talked to Dean, Kelly, or Loren in one of the many tournament hospitality rooms they haunted for decades, you had none of this pretense of objectivity, and none of this homogenized, devoid of any heart, cookie cutter sports pages that dot the area map in 2009. Dean and Loren were Neosho Wildcat or Crowder College Roughriders fans through and through, and nothing was more enjoyable than to hear them going back and forth with Kelly Bradham over whether Neosho or Nevada was the better school.
Today's sports pages are undeniably what the journalism experts would consider more professionally done, but I miss their character, the human quality that you let you know that every word on the pages, and every photo provided by Loren Lamoreaux was placed on that page by someone who genuinely cared about Neosho and wasn't just picking up a paycheck.
With local newspapers continuing to bite the dust right and left these days, it makes you wonder when the people who ran newspapers forgot the value of hiring people who care.
Loren Lamoreaux will be missed.