Monday, September 10, 2007


As a reporter, I've written my share of obits. But I've never written one as direct, honest and strangely moving as this one, which appeared Sunday in my old hometown paper The Daily Oklahoman.

Here's some of it:

Robert Harlin Beasley Whether the glass was half full or half empty, Harlin drank it anyway during the 86 years he roamed the planet-up and down. A less-than-secure childhood punctuated by a split in the nuclear family that took him from Oklahoma City to Hydro at the age of nine and took his father away, created a life-long struggle with depression. He was a bright kid and despite being a city slicker, he got along with the farm boys of Hydro and was a pretty good Judge of livestock. His real passion was music, the clarinet and sax, and placing them in his western-swing band at dances in the southwest, at one of which, he met a certain Helen Swanda of the famed Swanda girls of Carnegie. Another passion was alcohol, the muse that almost works. Booze and a band, what could be better? ... We will cherish the memories, even the scary ones, so in !ieu of flowers, buy another round.
This man was loved.

God's western-swing band just got rowdier!

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