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His colleagues at the Globe remember Will

I'm gonna tell you the real story, OK?

For 13 years, Will would say that to me on stories ranging from the sale of the Red Sox, to the departure of Bill Parcells, to the death of Reggie Lewis, to the closing of the FleetCenter deal. And on every occasion, he was right.

To be the editor of Will McDonough was kind of like being the Maytag repairman. There wasn't much I could suggest to Will. What do you say when a guy talks to John Harrington, talks to Parcells himself, talks to the medical experts no one else could get near in the Lewis case, talks to the wheelers and dealers directly involved in the building of the new FleetCenter?

What you say is thanks, and you try to get to know what makes this guy so special that everyone would talk to him.

This is the best example I've got:

Every August for the past six or so years, I would invite Will to come down to the Cape for the day, play golf at The Highlands in Truro (one of my favorite courses) with a few other Globe colleagues, and go back to our house in Yarmouth for a nice dinner.

The golf games were one thing - if you were paired with Will, he would always line up every putt for you, and if it didn't go in, it wasn't because he read the green incorrectly; it was because you stroked it wrong - the dinners quite another.

Two summers back, my wife Judy had prepared steaks and burgers and swordfish on our new fancy grill, and we were out on the back patio, getting ready to chow down. Will said he'd love some swordfish, so Judy lifted the huge slab onto the plate - and it flipped, as if still alive, onto the concrete floor.

Judy was disconsolate. This perfect fish was ruined. But Will would have none of that.

"I'll eat it," he said. "Don't worry about it. Just give it here."

"But it's got sand all over it," Judy said.

"Hey, a little sand never hurt anybody," Will said.

And so this larger-than-life guy, who could dine at the swankiest restaurants with the highest-browed people, proceeded to eat his swordfish a la sand.

The sand might have bothered him, but he didn't want to make his hostess feel badly about dropping it. Mr. Big? Absolutely. Mr. Big Time? Absolutely not.

I'll miss those golf games and those dinners with Will, but I'll miss his gracious company even more.

So will all the major movers and shakers on the Boston and national sports scene, who knew Will was as down to earth as they come and who opened up to him because of it.   Continued...

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