Later, when I became a reporter, he would clip my stories from the Daily Mail, tape them to a sheet of paper and mark them up, in red ink of course.
When I visited, he would hand over his version of a graded paper. Because we were father and daughter, we would argue. But I learned.
While he was teaching me to write, I was learning reporting skills from Daily Mail City Editor Sam Hindman, who could have been a Marine drill sergeant.
Sam was soon to move up the ladder, but he was an extraordinary city editor. He wanted stories, lots of them. If you thought you had a good one, he pushed you to make it better.
As the meek holder of an English degree but no experience, I suffered as I tried to produce what he demanded.
My dad saw this and was thrilled. He knew Sam was exactly what I needed.
Dad loved his own job as an editor, perhaps in part because it didn't come easily. With little choice after high school, he worked five years in the old Kelly Ax factory on the West Side where his own father was a foreman.
Then World War II came along, and the GI Bill afforded him the education necessary to land a position at the Gazette.
When my sister, brother and I reached our teen years and began to consider careers, he would say quite seriously, "Don't go into the newspaper business just because you see how much I love it."
My siblings were better writers, but I was the one to take the bait.
Now I wonder how he would advise me as I step away from my job at the Daily Mail. As I approach 60, I hope for a lower-key life as a freelance editor and writer.
Actually, if I've squirreled them away somewhere, I could pull out my dad's lesson plans for a magazine writing class. He taught this for a year at Marshall while I was at Virginia Tech. He worked hard on those lessons and mailed them to me as if I were taking the class from afar.
He died many years ago, but the force of his intellect and character has continued to guide me.
There's no reason to stop following that light.
Friend is editor and publisher of the Daily Mail. She may be reached at 348-5124 or nan...@dailymail.com.