COLUMBUS -- I took a weeklong vacation earlier this month, after lawmakers left town for their summer recess and the long-debated biennial budget was signed into law by Gov. John Kasich.
When I returned, there were more than 70 e-mail messages awaiting me from Loren Eberly.
Though on different topics, they mostly contained the same familiar wording Loren had shared with me and others in the years since our paths first crossed in Wayne County a dozen or so years ago.
Some paragraphs were missing a verb. Some had subjects but no predicates or vice versa. There were frequent mentions of union workers and immigrants and "America's grandchildren's children."
Most he concluded something like this: "It's every American citizen's responsibility to demand the Supreme Court and/or Congress impeach the president and recall the vice president, governor, representatives of the government, county commissioners, township trustees, mayors, city council, school administrators and board members that defy USA labor law, the constitution and realities demands."
Long banned from other websites or written off as some sort of Natural Law lunatic, I let Loren post whatever he wanted on my blog (www.ohiocapitalblog.com). I even set up a page explaining to the populace who he was and why he wrote what he wrote.
And everyday, I'd see his name pop up in my in-box, decrying the state of our nation and governmental spending and corporate giveaways and other people and trends that defied "realities demands."
There won't be any more messages, however. Loren died Monday at the age of 82, silencing one of Wayne County's most interesting personalities.
Some will quibble with that descriptor, with good reason. I've attended public meetings where Loren was nearly thrown out for his belligerence. I covered his saga with the health department over a nonfunctioning septic system and sewage flowing into a roadside ditch. I've watched others listen in disbelief at some of the things Loren had to say.
I profiled him back in early 2004, when he was a write-in candidate for county commissioner. I called him "gruff, obstinate and unrelenting" in his rhetoric and his attitude.
"I never been a nice guy," he said at the time. "I've always had a bad attitude and I'll stick up for it, too."
But Loren wasn't always so gruff. Sometimes he was downright friendly.
"I don't know words to tell you how good you understanding my agenda makes me feel," he wrote me back in November. "Thank you. You have a good day."
While most people were confused by his writings, his core message was pretty simple: Businesses, government entities and individuals should pay their fair share and not force others to subsidize their unrealistic lifestyle choices.
Back in 2008, I wrote a column stating Loren should be one of Wayne County's Top 25 people. I continue to hold that position. In the true spirit of free speech and democratic debate, he spoke his mind, fought in his own way for what he believed and didn't let people get him down when they wrote him off.
I'll miss Loren and the comments he left daily on my blog. Wayne County will be a little bit less interesting without him around.
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.
Very nice article, Marc.