Lincoln and Washington -- It's painful to note the passing yesterday of Stan Matzke, Jr., my longtime friend and colleague.
The last time I heard from him was in the mail. He sent me a photo he had taken while visiting our Nebraska prairie property, along with two dollar bills to pay for the shoe covers he had accidently taken from our barn. The gesture was in part to tweak the very idea of having shoe covers in a barn. Stan had his own farm in the southern reaches of Lancaster County, on which he and Dorothy raised pecans and walnuts.
Stan sometimes thought of himself modestly, as being in the shadow of his father, Stan Matzke, Sr., a legendary state senator and conservationist. He always liked it when I told him I knew the Matzke name more from his own exploits on the basketball court (as a star player at NU in the 1950s) than from the accomplishments of his father.
Stan Jr. had his own accomplishments in government, about which I have written before. See posts here and here. He could work across party lines easily for good causes, working with Democrats while remaining close to the most decent of Republicans.
Stan, I'll be tied up in Washington next week and won't have a chance to pay my final respests to you in Lincoln. So I'll just have to post this message to say Nebraska has lost one of its best, and forever will be a lesser place without you.