From: Goldberg, Nick
Sent: Saturday, March 30, 2013 12:31 PM
To: Los Angeles Times Staff
Subject: Dan Turner
Dan Turner, an editorial writer at The Times, died this morning after a two year struggle with
It's overwhelmingly sad and terribly unfair. Dan was about to reach his 50th birthday next month. He was a lovely colleague, a mild, kind, smart voice in our editorial board meetings. Yet in his writing, he was anything but mild -- rather, he was powerful, biting, funny and opinionated. He could pound out an editorial in a couple of hours -- or a blogpost in a matter of minutes -- that hit all the right notes, made all the right points, and did it in a way that was so stylish and word perfect that it was virtually uneditable. What's more, he wrote so painlessly and efficiently that he always had a little time left over to play whatever that computer word game was that he was so addicted to and to get out of the office and be scootering home at a shockingly reasonable hour.
Dan blogged and editorialized on an extremely broad range of subjects, including energy, local transportation, California prisons, the death penalty, climate change, Africa and the
Consider this lede from just a few months ago:
"'Dilbit' -- drop the word in casual conversation and listeners might think you're talking about the comic strip engineer who can't get a date. But dilbit actually stands for "diluted bitumen," a heretofore obscure oil industry term that may soon be trending on your search engine as controversy deepens over the
"Badminton, which stands with cricket as the most British of sports, conjures images of heiresses in lace playing on manor lawns that stretch to the horizon, or blond young gentlemen at Eton in blindingly white sweaters and shorts. Developed by the British aristocracy in India in the 19th century, it has traditionally been a gentleman's -- sorry, gentleperson's -- game. So when eight women players from three Asian countries did something not quite cricket at the London Olympics, it hit the cloistered organization that oversees the sport like a shuttlecock slam to the groin."
"Happy days are here again for the makers and sellers of guns and ammunition, and why not? There's nothing like a good school massacre to really move those Mausers off the shelves. The timing of the Newtown, Conn., atrocity, moreover, couldn't have been better, coming as it did just two weeks before Christmas, when gun enthusiasts slumber with visions of high-capacity magazines dancing in their heads."
For two years, Dan has been terribly sick and for much of that time, he's been in great pain. Yet during that time he showed nothing but courage in the face of his illness, at least to us. He kept writing and blogging until just a few weeks ago.
About a week before he died, Dan finally announced that he needed to take a leave of absence, and wrote the following to his colleagues.
"Whatever happens now, I want you to know that working with such a smart, thoughtful, funny, expert group has enriched my life for years, which is a large part of what makes it so difficult to make a clean break from the L.A. Times. Our work has kept me tethered to the world during some very rough times. I'm not going to blather on about cancer and death with you because I've done more than enough of that already and I could use a break, but it's a terrible experience made more bearable by the likes of you."
We'll miss him very much. I'm only sorry there wasn't more we could do for him to ease his pain and troubles and the fears he must have had but rarely expressed.