Lionel Walsh • My Life and Times

20 March 2010

“There was generosity in the air that day”

Michael Reupke

 

< Chapter 18 <

I saw Lionel at a loss for what to say or do only once in the many years and many situations I had seen him over many years. It was about 1969 in Bonn. Lionel was at a typewriter, We had nice big standard machines in Bonn in those days. Lionel was typing the nightlead, that is the wrapup of all the days developments in the story of that day, I cannot remember the story. Lionel had between his lips a cigarette. Lionel smoked a lot in those days, I mean a lot.

A generous colleague offered him a fresh cigarette. Lionel took it and lit it, as was his wont, from the cigarette between his lips. He held the freshly lit cigarette in his right hand and continued typing. He was very skilled at this. Another benefactor proffered him a packet, from which he drew a fresh cigarette with his left hand. He lit it in the accustomed manner and carried on typing, now with a lit cigarette in each hand and one between his lips, quite a feat you must admit.

There was no shortage of generosity in the air that day (I think it must have been a Friday afternoon) and Lionel was offered yet another cigarette, which he gratefully accepted and lit in the usual way. He visibly wondered whether to put that one between his lips or behind his right ear. We were all relieved when a fellow smoker also noticed his plight and relieved Lionel of the supernumerary fag!

Needless to say the nightlead went out on time as ever!

  

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“Without delay or shillyshallying...”

Donald Armour

 

Lionel, although very busy as bureau chief, took me on his Bonn staff in 1966 with little training or experience and showed great patience, spent much time, teaching me the business of journalism. I have never forgotten his guidance, advice and sometimes very telling tips throughout my entire career.  In addition to the professional skills he passed on to me, Lionel also taught me the value of getting things done smartly, without delay or shillyshallying.  Hitherto I had led a very leisurely existence. Altogether I remember my time under his leadership and tutelage in Bonn as part of the salad days of youth.  Lionel showed great patience with me and I am eternally grateful to him.  May I offer him my very best wishes on his eightieth birthday.

 

See extracts of speeches and tributes from Michael Walsh, Mohsin Ali, Randy Holden

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