Can't believe the news of the sudden passing of Chicago Tribune columnist Terry Armour, not just because he was in the prime of life at a seemingly robust 46, but because he always seemed more alive than anyone else.
Terry loved to laugh; he loved people; he loved to live. He exuded a warm, larger-than-life persona in his frequent appearances on radio and TV, but whenever I ran into Terry around town, I found him just as funny and friendly with no camera or microphone in sight.
The last time he and I crossed paths was a Tuesday evening a few months ago at the Lakeshore Theater, where the Upright Citizens Brigade was kicking off a weekly residency. Terry was covering the show for the Trib with a photographer in tow. After some top-tier improv from the UCB, he and I talked comedy at the bar.
We also discussed his late friend and colleague Allan Johnson, who had ably covered comedy for the Tribune before his own untimely passing two years ago. Terry's presence at the Lakeshore was in part a function of Allan's absence, as Terry had helped fill the void in the Trib's comedy coverage after Allan's death. And spookily, sadly, here we are now. I trust that Terry and Allan are reunited somewhere filled with laughter.
I found out about Terry last night over dinner with my family at a bustling downtown restaurant. The place was packed with happy people. The Bears had just won their final home game and Adewale Ogunleye, Tommie Harris, John St. Clair and Israel Idonije were there enjoying a nice meal after work. Alpana Singh was at the next table; I thought I saw Billy Williams walk by. For our part, we had a great time celebrating my mom's birthday. What with the festive atmosphere, family and friends, jocks and celebrities, great food, cocktails and spirited conversation, it felt like a Terry Armour kind of night.
Condolences to Terry's family and many friends. New Year's Eve doesn't seem quite as joyous anymore.