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Celebrating the life of a reporter and friend

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Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 3:55 pm

We brought salads and cookies and taquitos, one of his favorites.

Mainly, we brought our memories.

We assembled, a group of 25 or so, to remember Ross David Farrow. Ross worked as a reporter here nearly 17 years. He died earlier this month at age 62.

The entry plaza to Raley Field in Sacramento was chosen as the place to celebrate Ross' life. It was an unusual setting, but it felt right. Ross was nearly as passionate about minor league baseball as he was about reporting.

We placed our platters and bowls of food on the ledges of the Raley Field ticket booths.

Sunday morning was warm, bordering on hot, and there were only pockets of shade in the plaza. We gathered in the shady spots and nibbled the food and talked about Ross.

Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli was there, an official source who had become a friend to Ross over the years.

He expressed something I felt, too: Ross' death carried an unexpected jolt.

Ross had had major bouts of poor health in the last couple of years. Yet he always seemed to come back. He carried too much weight. He didn't take the greatest care of himself.

Still, there was something about Ross that seemed so constant, so enduring. Maybe even indomitable. Ross was, it seemed, always in the newsroom. His byline was always in the paper. He worked every Sunday, and every Sunday afternoon I got a call from Ross updating me on what he was covering.

He handled the religion page without fail. He seldom took a day off. Ironically, he was seldom home sick.

He was a stalwart. And he was a presence in our room, sharing stories and quips, chatting up sources and colleagues. He could be irascible, true. But he could also be endearing. As his nephew, Dan Stewart, said at the celebration in the plaza, there was a child-like quality to Ross.

Even after he left the newsroom last year because of health issues, I felt he would somehow eventually recover, somehow come back to reporting.

Now he is gone. 

As a human being, Ross was complex and indelible. As a reporter, he was a rock.

At the celebration, as we were gathered in the shade sharing memories of Ross, it was announced that a journalism scholarship is being named for him by the California Newspaper Publishers Association.

It is a way of honoring a reporter who deeply loved his craft. 

Honestly, I still can't quite grasp that he's gone.

To read more about the scholarship, please see this story:

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