Thoughts On An Old Friend



Self contained, intensely private, thin as a rail, handsome with an ever present toothpick in his mouth, Dan Lovely never stood out among the eccentrics in the Fort Lauderdale News newsroom of the late 1970s. 

Until he sat down to do journalism. 

Lovely was one of the best investigative reporters I ever met. 

He taught me so much although we had dramatically different backgrounds. 

Me, Manhattan born-and-bred. He, from small town Indiana. 

Still, we clicked on some level in journalism. It also helped that he taught me how to party after work in a parade of East Las Olas taverns. 

I worked for several years on lengthy investigations with him. He taught me patience, not to reach for tomorrow’s headline, but to dig up more for a bigger headline next week.  Or next month. 

Lovely led me through documents, showing me what to look for and what to discard. How to cover every base. 

We once spent a least a month pouring through boxes in a divorce. We eventually found some financial details that resulted in one or two lines in the story. Boy, that’s a world of journalism that is largely gone today!  

Perhaps most important, in the 1970s and 1980s newsroom, he taught me how to fend off short sighted editors who always wanted to know what story you had for tomorrow. 

A former conscientious objector to the draft, Lovely was a constant objector to editors. 

Since I was a kid working at his side, I have met dozens of other tough, no-nonsense, journalists intensively driven to get their story. But Lovely was my first and you always remember your first. 

Lovely was not a stand out name in journalism. Yet over the years he informed thousands of their world. 

He worked as a city hall reporter at the Philadelphia Daily News after Fort Lauderdale. He worked in crisis management for awhile and then returned to Fort Lauderdale to run the Broward edition of the New Times. His career ended as a top editor of the Stuart News. 

When we talked on the phone one last time earlier this week, we reminisced like two old friends always do. About the wild stories we chased. About the wild drunken nights with detectives, lawyers, politicians, strippers and half the city desk crew. 

His voice was strong. His memory was good. 

I didn’t know at the time that Lovely had one more lesson to teach me — mortality. 

After a fall and pneumonia caught in the hospital, Dan Lovely died this week in Stuart. He was 74.  


Dan Lovely in the Fort Lauderdale News newsroom, 1979. Other reporters in the photo are Fred Schulte, who works for a medical news service in Washington; Dan Christensen, who runs after years at the Miami Herald and the Daily Business Review and George McEvoy, a fabulous veteran reporter who since died.  (Cal Deal, who worked on the paper, produced this picture and today is a community activist in Fort Lauderdale.)

8 Responses to “Thoughts On An Old Friend”

  1. Suzanne Coleman says:

    Dan is survived by his sister, Diane Lovely Airhart, of Indiana, and her family. Condolences may be sent to: RIP Dan Lovely, you were one of a kind. 💔 Suzanne

  2. A reader says:

    Lovely is the operative word here. Your article is a lovely tribute to Mr. Lovely. I wish real journalists were still working at newspapers and all other media sources.

  3. Lynne Helm says:

    Gone way too soon, at 74. Rest In Peace, Dan … and thank you for the memorable tribute, Buddy, along with the pix from newsroom days of old.

  4. Tell the Truth says:

    Handsome guys all in that photo.

    S FL had terrific and astute reporting and I have only lived here 36 years.Newspapers sold out daily in the street boxes and most residents were informed and engaged.
    Rest in peace Dan Lovely. I am certain I have big news clippings with your byline in my local files (pre-internet).

  5. Mark Tomasik says:

    Thanks for this great tribute. As City Editor at The Stuart News, Dan inspired a talented crew of reporters to relentlessly hold public officials unaccountable.


    Thank you so much. I believe Mark Tomasik was executive editor of the Treasure Coast newspapers, which included the Stuart News, when Dan Lovely was city editor.

  6. George Andreassi says:

    Dan was great to work for at The Stuart News too!


    Thank you, George. George Andreassi is a long-time Treasure Coast journalist who worked with Dan Lovely. He now is an investigative reporter for the TV Palm/Treasure Coast newspapers.

  7. Count LF Chidkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    The loss is with the living but his memory lives on. Sad but I miss the morning paper from the now gone newsbox by my now gone building in Fort Lauderdale. A vacant stripmall n the internet ain’t the same thing. I hope they have daily newspapers over the Rainbow.

  8. Tom Weber says:

    Thanks for the tribute to a fine journalist and colleague.