Friday, March 07, 2008

Lloyd Maffitt, 1916-2008

A couple of weeks ago, someone I know and I found ourselves seated with Lloyd Maffitt at a round table during a wedding reception for his daughter Mary in Chicago's "312" restaurant . He held the dozen luncheon guests at the table spellbound with stories of reporting years for The Hawk Eye in Burlington, Iowa; interviews with celebrities like Truman Capote and Teddy Kennedy; and the Chicago of the last century--where he had spent his honeymoon at the Palmer House wearing the same suit he sported for the wedding we all attended. He quoted Shakespeare at lunch, too.

After the wedding luncheon, Maffitt continued holding court at the the home of the bride and groom--handling his whiskey like a newspaperman out of Hecht and MacArthur's "The Front Page."

Even from our short audience, it was obvious that Lloyd Wright Maffitt was a real character. It was a privilege to have been able to spend a day together, to celebrate his daughter Mary's wedding (he shared the scoop that her given name was Debra, as well as another scoop about her surname...) When we heard that he passed away at age 92, after a sudden illness, we were sad--but happy to hear that his hometown of Burlington, Iowa turned out en masse for his funeral. As his son-in-law told us: "He was loved." By everyone he met, including this blogger.

More on Lloyd Maffit from The Hawk Eye website: