Monday, January 02, 2012

In Memoriam: John Hyde

The new year is less than 48 hours old, and already our community is lessened - substantially. It was with great sadness that I visited just now, to read that "Judge John Hyde passed away this afternoon after a more than two-year battle with cancer."

Sadness, yes ... but not shock. Judge Hyde's ongoing battle with cancer has been common knowledge - and an inspiration! - to the community. He was the focus of frequent and fervent prayers for 'wholeness and healing.' And even as we celebrated his time among us, we knew deep down that time might not continue as long as we would like. Our prayers, now, are with Judge Hyde's family ... his wife Sharon, his children and his grandchildren, and with all those who are touched by his passing.

My first visit with Judge Hyde was more than twenty years ago, and it was a typical encounter. It was the late 80s, the 'bust' was well underway, and I had been laid-off from KMID-TV/Big 2. While I was pursuing a variety of freelance media jobs, I was also enrolled at Midland College for job-retraining, taking courses towards a paralegal certificate. They were some good courses, but the best was a course that had me downtown at the courthouse, student-clerking for the state district courts. I was assigned to Judge Hyde's 238th Distrct Court.

Under his tutelage, I found myself gaining first-hand knowledge and experience of every aspect of our court system. With him, there was no such thing as a menial task ... everything I did, even fetching stacks of law books or answering phones, served a purpose. I eventually re-entered the journalism business full-time, and did not make the move to professional paralegal. Yet the knowledge, the experience and the appreciation I gained for law enforcement and the court system during that process made a me a better journalist ... like I said, a typical encounter with Judge Hyde.

My last visit with Judge Hyde was less than two months ago, and it was a typical encounter. He had just made a presentation during the early service at First Prez-Midland, highlighting dates in the church's history, and it's contributions to the community, the country and the world. As many of you know, he not only had a keen interest in history, but also a knack for research, and a wonderful ability for presentation, sharing the results of his research with others in a manner that informed and stimulated.

During the fellowship time that followed the early service, I was part of a three-way chat with Judge Hyde and MPD Deputy Chief Jeff Darr, that covered not only history, but also current events in the Tall City, cause-and-effect, where we are and where we're going. It was all-too-short a visit, but I left it encouraged and better-informed ... like I said, a typical encounter with Judge Hyde.

According to Gustave Flaubert, "a friend who dies, it's something of you who dies." With the passing of John Hyde, that is something we could all say today.

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