Dad over board

Bill Burke had been writing the Dad on Board column for eight months before I became editor at ParentingNH in 2008. A few months after I settled in, he suggested we should meet. I agreed.

I had been working in daily newspapers for several years, so this would be the first time in my career I’d primarily be working with freelance writers who work off site instead of in the newsroom. I was slowly getting used to navigating this unfamiliar landscape, but still, I was nervous to meet him.

I walked into Fremont Pizzeria to see Bill sitting at a table with a warm smile. Within 10 minutes I felt like I had made a friend for life. During the first of many long conversations we would have over the years, I discovered we had a lot in common from having worked in daily newspapers to our favorite bands, including a well-known Canadian rock trio.

I’ve learned a lot about Bill through the years. He is a true family man. He is obsessive about whatever he is doing at the moment, whether it’s playing the bass, watching the Bruins, or a brief foray into archery. His devotion to all things Disney is unparalleled. It would be Christmas in his house 365 days a year if that was possible. And please, ask him about the movie, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.” I dare you.

After 12 years, Bill is wrapping up his column this month, his daughter off to college, and the opinion I had of him after our first meeting has never wavered: Bill is one of the nicest people I’ve ever known.

Along the way, Bill joined our team at McLean Communications as our manager of custom publications. In addition to having won awards year after year for his column, he does a damn fine job of producing content for our clients.

He’s the first to offer help, no matter how busy he is, and always goes above and beyond. His online-only blog, Dad on Bored, was a task he gave himself and has stuck with even though the assignment proved to be much longer than the few weeks he expected.

It’s bittersweet to know that Bill won’t be appearing in PNH every month. I wish, as the song goes, “we could freeze this moment a little bit longer.” But he will insist on occasionally writing for ParentingNH, and that makes this all a little easier to accept.

And he’s not going very far. I’m looking forward to eventually returning to our office and having Bill show up at my desk to ask if I have a minute, which will inevitably turn into many minutes, and a few good story ideas.

Categories: Edit Note