I'm sorry to report that my friend and co-worker, Braden Keil, (pictured here with his wife Jennifer and two of his three kids) passed away on Tuesday night at the criminally young age of 53. (Braden had cancer.)
Like everyone else at the Post, I was very, very saddened and shocked. (I was probably a little less shocked than most -- I had been hearing the updates since he took ill in December, and they seemed to be getting steadily worse.)
In addition to being a truly ace reporter who had a true gift at sniffing out great stories about real estate, Braden was also riotously funny, a champion carouser who could drink me (and almost anyone else) under the table, a great fresser and a loving father.
I remember when I first got to the Post, my first real experience with Braden was just as we were closing our section one Friday night. (NYP Home used to come out on Saturdays -- not Thursdays.)
Braden was always the last one to file and he was notoriously late. (Making him, I think, a true-blue reporter.) That Friday, Braden had of course filed late, and the news desk was beginning to yell at us that we were taking too long to close our section.
"Here," said then-editor Ali Rogers, handing me Braden's copy, "quickly show this Braden see if he sees any mistakes."
I ran over to Braden's desk, gave him the copy, and stood there as he read it -- all the while, nervously looking at my watch.
"Do you see anything?" I asked.
He looked at the copy quizzically. "Well..." he said.
"I think my logo should be a little bigger," he said looking at the Gimme Shelter logo (which of course had his picture on it).
"Give me that!" I said ripping the page out of his hands.
It was such a silly thing to say that I couldn't even be angry as I ran off to pagination to tell them to send the page to the printers. I was just laughing hysterically.
You'll be dearly missed, buddy.