with a heavy heart…

Whispers started to trickle into my inbox late last night that we had lost our beloved Paul Newman.

“No no no!” I said under my breath, then thought at least he and his family aren’t suffering anymore. Having gone through that particular battle with my mom and my grandfather, I don’t wish it on anyone.

I wrote the story Paul Newman: 1925 – 2008 for OWW.net and then waited.
(I wasn’t about to go live with an unsubstantiated rumour)

I sent out a few emails for confirmation, set up some google alerts and got up every couple of hours to check.

About a half hour ago it finally started to hit the newswires and CNN just broke into their programming to announce it. It’s official. He is gone.

and now the tears fall…

I don’t pretend to have known him personally, able to count the number of conversations I had with the man over the years on one hand, but knew of him. I knew the thrill for fans of seeing him at the track. I knew the joy of watching him laugh and celebrate with his crew. I knew what it meant to the many drivers who spent time with the legend.

He was a private, passionate man, who through his actions set the bar high and set an example for us all.

He will be missed by so many, but his legacy will live on.

Here are a couple of my own personal shots. Not the best quality, but it’s the memories of the moment that count.

I had been documenting Tonis Kasemets’ return to open wheel that weekend (RA) He was driving for Newman/Wachs and Mr. Newman was one of his long time heroes. It seemed the admiration was mutual. This was Newman chatting with Tonis and his wife.

A little bit later, the monitor in his own pit box failed, so he headed down to one with a working monitor, Tonis in tow, and joined Justin Wilson to watch the session. (this was just as the rumors of Justin being top of the list for the NH seat began to surface)

Probably my favorite picture. He was usually very stoic and out of the public eye at the track. This day, in Toronto, he caught up with Miller on pitlane. Whatever Miller said to him cracked him up! They stood and chatted and a gaffawed for about 10mins. I felt guilty snapping a pic, but it was just so endearing.

and as if on cue, mirroring the sadness felt around the world, it has started to rain outside my window…

Thank you Mr. Newman for all that you’ve done and all that you were.

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3 responses to “with a heavy heart…

  1. It’s a sad day. My thoughts are with his friends and family.

    RIP PLN.

  2. A lot of deep feelings run underneath this all.

    I admire…present tense…Paul Newman so much. He was so genuine, with a quiet, unassuming, yet dignified presence. I never had a sense that he was ‘full of himself’, while it was obvious that he was strong and confident in his demeanor at the same time (almost oxymoronic in view of the two descriptions). The man had extraordinary class, in every sense of the word. Not a hint of pretense.

    Like you, Meesh, my interaction with him was minimal. But one great day, at Willow Springs in the fall of ’92, I had the honor and privelege of being the mechanic on a Sports 2000/ACRL car that he drove. It was arranged by Craig T. Nelson, with a small team I briefly worked with after my CART years. Craig tested the day before, and Mr. Newman drove it the next day, pretty much all day. I was the mechanic on hand for the test with the team.

    It was a day that is a somewhat fleeting but really fond memory. It’s one to hold on to, and I do. It was truly an honor and privelege to have that interaction with the man.

    My prayers, thoughts, and condolences to all who loved him.

  3. RIP

    Thanks for sharing your memories and photos.

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