Sun Journal sports reporter Randy Whitehouse dies at 51
Longtime Sun Journal sports reporter Randy Whitehouse, 51, a respected and award-winning journalist, died on Sunday.
Whitehouse had been battling serious health issues since January and making significant progress until a setback late last week.
He was a dedicated journalist, but nothing filled him like his family: his son, Andrew, was his pride, and his wife, Joyce, who died in October 2019, was his joy.
Randy was a tall man with a hoarse voice, and he wasn’t the type to smile for no reason. This has earned him nicknames like “Hulking and Surly Randy Whitehouse,” given by Sun Journal reporter Mark LaFlamme, and “The Surly Mainer,” by fellow Sun Journal sports reporter Tony Blasi.
But from that exterior emerged a different Randy Whitehouse when speaking of his family.
Judy Meyer, Editor-in-Chief of Sun Journal, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, says his most vivid memory of Whitehouse dates back to when Joyce was pregnant with Andrew. Surly Randy became giddy with excitement about the impending addition to her life.
“It was as if no one in the history of the world had ever given birth before,” Meyer said.
She added, “It was so human and touching that every time I saw it, I thought about it.
Andrew grew up and is now a college teacher at St. Dominic’s Academy, but he continues to be a source of pride for his father.
“We were both fathers of an only child, and I know from our many hours of conversation that Randy could not have been prouder of his son, Andrew,” Kalle Oakes, who worked alongside Randy in Sun Journal sports team for about 15 years. years, mentionned.
Whitehouse started out as a freelance writer for the Sun Journal before being hired as a press reporter in 1996. He once said that the proudest moment in his career as a journalist came while covering the ice storm of 1998 when he convinced his editors to post a photo of Vice President Al Gore picking up a broken power line.
“What a lot of people don’t remember is that Randy wasn’t always a sports writer,” LaFlamme said. “When he and I started at the newspaper, we were both freelancers doing a bit of everything. Randy covered the cops a lot at the time on my days off. He didn’t like it, but he was great. In fact, he told so many great stories while I was gone, it was kind of a joke between us decades later.
But Whitehouse, who grew up in the Bridgton and Naples area and attended Lake Region High School and then Castleton University in Vermont, wanted to cover sports, and he joined the Sun Journal sports team in May 1999.
Over the next 20+ years – which included a stint at the Kennebec Journal from August 2014 to his return to the Sun Journal in September 2016 – he became one of Maine’s most respected and respected sports voices. Readers, athletes, coaches, athletic directors and his fellow sports journalists knew that Whitehouse could be counted on to cover sports with great excellence and little ego. He combined skilled writing and reporting with an ability to capture the humanity and personality of the subjects of his stories.
“Randy was a friend, colleague and hell of a writer,” said Justin Pelletier, former sports editor for the Sun Journal and the Boston Herald who is now associate regional sports editor for McClatchy in Raleigh, North Carolina. “Working with him for almost two decades was something special. He was quick with his wit, quick with his words, and one of the easiest-to-edit deadline writers I’ve worked with. His knowledge, passion and dedication to the sports of central and western Maine was unparalleled.
Whitehouse was private and humble and gave little value to awards, but he still won plenty, including earlier this year when he received the Associated Press’s Top 10 Sports Editors award in the difficult feature category.
“Randy has always been self-destructive and reluctant to talk about himself, which I think are two things that you generally don’t find sincerely in our business,” Oakes, who currently is said the sports editor of Georgetown News-Graphic in Kentucky. “These qualities are what made him a loved and respected figure in the community, as he was all about the athletes, coaches and administrators he wrote about.
Randy’s dry sense of humor was well known. He featured often in his “Huddle Up” columns, and was even more prevalent when he was among his friends and colleagues. Even the person receiving his sarcasm felt like they were in the joke.
“Those who could call him a friend were lucky in so many ways,” said Bill Stewart, sports editor for the Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel and Times Record. “His dry sense of humor and quick wit – both unmatched – which resonated with those around him will be missed.”
“Randy had this special gift,” Oakes said, “of being hilarious without realizing it or needing to laugh at his own one-liners. He might make me laugh until my stomach and face hurt.
Several colleagues, friends and acquaintances noted and lamented the void left by Whitehouse’s death.
“I’ve always called him ‘Big and Snarling Randy Whitehouse’, and he was those two things on occasion, but he was also incredibly kind and wise on so many things.Said LaFlamme. “I considered him one of my best friends – a friend who helped me through some dark times. He was just an extremely generous and interesting character, a kind of unique buddy. He was the very first person I turned to if I had some worsening at work or a worldview I needed to get out of my chest. His loss is immeasurable.
“Those of us who knew him,” said Pelletier, “or who ran into him regularly, are much better off to have done so. I will miss him. “
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