Like the recent death of community activist Jack Barr, the unexpected passing of long-time Herald-Mail reporter Franca Lewis was too sudden and too soon for all who knew her personally and professionally. In both cases, a good voice was stopped in mid-sentence, leaving the rest of us wondering why it had to happen now, when it seemed there was still so much more to come.
To say that Franca Lewis was a long-time Herald-Mail reporter is to provide an inadequate description of what she did as a professional. Although she was not a native of Washington County, to her the community and the people in it were things she cared deeply about, whether she was writing a story about elected officials' spending habits or helping someone who'd been cheated in a mail-order scam in her role as an Action Line reporter.
She also knew how to listen, which is an art in itself. Any competent reporter can ask questions and write down the answers. It takes someone more perceptive to realize that you don't always get the full story if you just ask your questions and then leave.