Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Many Sides of Chip "Tookie" Gerdes

CHIP GERDES WAS many things - passionate, infuriating, energetic, opinionated and very, very funny. Quincy was shocked and saddened to learn of his passing yesterday morning of an apparent heart attack.

I knew Chip through his rambling blog posts, love of music and his rabble rousing with Quincynews.org, the upstart online "newspaper" he started with a former Herald-Whig and WGEM guy. We didn't see eye to eye on a lot of things and Chip took great delight in trying to scoop me when The Whig and QNO butted heads.

His real name was Parker. He nicknamed himself "Tookie." He had many sides and you were never sure which one you'd encounter.

Quincynews.org changed the media landscape around here. Before it rolled around, I never worried about being scooped. But you never knew where QNO was digging or what they were up to next, and it forced traditional media to up their games and finally take online reporting seriously. QNO didn't seriously dig into covering crime and courts, making my life easier, but they sure made covering politics interesting.

The changes at The Whig my last few years there were staggering, and QNO was one of many reasons.

Chip loved music and the local music scene. He hired my old band, The Funions, to play at this wife's birthday party at the Oakley-Lindsay Center. We opened for Quincy band Fielder, a band Chip loved. He even showed up one night at one of our legendary practice sessions in the back of Vegas Music.

Chip didn't care who he ticked off, and he motored a mile a minute. Say what you want about him leaning to starboard and his Tea Parties - the guy lived and breathed politics. To say he was a "political consultant" is putting it mildly.

And he loved his family, especially his daughter. He talked about her all the time.

I hadn't seen him for a while. The last time was at some event, and he bought me a beer and was talking about a "revolution" somewhere. I just laughed, as always.

Farewell, Chip. Quincy is a poorer place with your passing, and peace and prayers to your family.

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