Local conservative, sometime talk show host and Weekly Standard contributor Dean Barnett died today of Cystic Fibrosis. I wrote in praise of him after he did a guest stint on 96.9 FM in August.
I first met Dean a couple years ago at my favorite place — the NECN green room. He looked somewhat buff to me so I started to engage him in a conversation about weight lifting and going to the gym. It was only after several minutes of chit chat — I started to ask about treadmill performance — that Dean told me he had CF.
In a region of devoted Red Sox fans, he was one of the most passionate. It was love for the team that drew him into blogging.
In a way the whole conversation gave me an eery sense of deja vu. It reminded me of my first encounter with Harvard Crimson star reporter Teresa Mullin. I sat with Terri outside the Crimson — both of us sneezing and hacking. “I’ve got allergies too,” I said to her. She shook her head and bluntly said, “no, CF.”
She was the toughest, most courageous person I had — or have — ever met. Before she died in England at age 22 awaiting a lung transplant, she wrote a memoir, The Stones Applaud, about her experiences. Here’s my tribute to her from 1991.
Dean was luckier and lived twice as long as Terri. He was so productive online and guest hosting for Hugh Hewitt, he began to fool me. I started to think he might somehow actually escape this cursed affliction known for taking its victims young.
He will be missed.