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The Herald remembers Timothy J. Denton

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On Saturday, Nov. 14, all of us at Herald Community Newspapers were deeply saddened by the untimely death of our dear friend and colleague, Timothy J. Denton, senior editor of the Wantagh and Seaford Herald Citizen papers. “Tim,” as many knew him, was previously  editor of the Franklin Square-Elmont and Valley Stream Heralds and assistant editor of the Glen Cove Herald Gazette.

Beyond being a talented and fiercely intelligent journalist, he was a good human being who enjoyed helping people in and out of the newsroom. His deep insight into so many subjects aided his in-depth reporting. At the same time, he became a respected mentor to many young reporters and editors over his three-year Herald tenure. Always quick-witted, honest and eager to talk, he was respected not only by all of us, but by his sources and readers. The following is a collection of quotes from members of the Herald editorial team and employees at Richner Communications Inc.

“My favorite response to Tim was, ‘Of course.’ Whenever our talks would stray away from work and into cultural conversations, I pretended I knew all of the historical and anecdotal references he made. Of course, most of them, I didn’t, but I tried to keep up. A smarter and more worldly man, I did not know. He made me a better journalist and a more introspective thinker. At first, he was my editor. Then, he was my editor, but we were friendly. Once the pandemic came and we were out of the office, we inadvertently were forced to actually speak even more regularly than before. I can’t quantify how much I’ve learned from him, but I think I can proudly say with confidence that Tim no longer was just my editor. He became a mentor, and he became my friend.”

J.D. Freda, Reporter, Wantagh and Seaford Herald Citizen

“Tim welcomed me into the Herald as my first editor as we both began our reporting of Franklin Square and Elmont. I was very nervous at first, seeing as this was my first job in print media, but Tim was always there to lend a helping hand and guided me to success. He always pushed me to do better, and I would always read his stories to find examples of excellent reporting. As an Elmont resident myself, I felt incredibly happy whenever Tim tackled an issue that everyone else seemed to ignore, from the unexplained high rates of cancer in the area to the real socio-economic impact of the Belmont Arena project. I’ve always tried to do the same since and will do so in the future because of Tim.”

Ronny Reyes, Editor, Freeport Herald

“Tim had been the editor of major financial publications, but had been out of journalism for about a decade when he came to us three years ago wanting to get back into reporting. While interviewing him, I was struck by his keen intelligence and perceptiveness. Over time, I came to understand what a kind-hearted human being he was, always looking out for other people and, as a journalist, always seeking to give voice to the voiceless. The entire Herald team will miss him, but we are all better for having known him. He was a friend and mentor to us all.”

Scott Brinton, Executive Editor, Herald Community Newspapers

“I am extremely saddened by Tim’s untimely passing. The Long Island community, as well as our company, were better off because of Tim’s presence. He was a compassionate, intelligent and generous person, an esteemed colleague and a valued mentor to our staff. He will be greatly missed by all.”

Stuart Richner, Publisher, Richner Communications

“Pre-pandemic, I spent quite a few mornings just chatting about the state of the world with Tim in the break room while brewing a cup of coffee. It wouldn’t take long for the discussion to turn toward how to get the best price on a coffee pod. No matter the topic, Tim was always insightful. I have missed, and will continue to miss, those seemingly mundane conversations that will unfortunately now be impossible.”

Michael Bologna, Vice President Operations, Richner Communications

“I’m so saddened by this news. Tim and I had conversations in the kitchen all the time, most often about music and current events. He was smart and sensitive and truly liked by the people in all the communities he served.”

Rhonda Glickman, Vice President Sales, Richner Communications

“Whenever I thought of Tim, I imagined a twinkle in his eye and heard an infectious chuckle. If Santa Claus were a lot slimmer and more of an intellectual, he’d be Tim. We got a couple of glimpses of his cat during Zoom meetings, and each time, as a fellow cat lover, I couldn’t help thinking, that’s gotta be one the happiest cats you’d ever meet.”

Jim Harmon, Copy Editor

“I enjoyed all the times we talked in the newsroom. I tried to act smarter so I could keep up with him and learned much from hearing his perspective from what was a life well lived.”

Jeff Bessen, Senior Editor, Nassau Herald

“No matter the topic, Tim always seemed to be knowledgeable and could seemingly hold a conversation about anything. He was kind-hearted, easy to talk to and had a signature laugh that I will never forget. What I’ll remember him most for is his passion for what he did and how talented he was as a journalist. His work ethic is something that we should all strive to have. He was a very nice person, and we will miss him greatly.”

Michael Smollins, Senior Editor, Oceanside-Island Park Herald, Lynbrook/East Rockaway Herald

“Tim is irreplaceable. He was the most interesting, knowledgeable and gracious journalist you could ever hope to meet, let alone work with. His limitless wisdom was evident in the stories he told in print as well as around the office. Any time he shared an anecdote from his life — from his momentary career as a musician to his time living in Europe — you couldn’t help but marvel.”

Alyssa Seidman, Editor, Bellmore Herald Life, Merrick Herald Life

“I live in Wantagh and always looked for interesting news to feed Tim. Whenever I did, we would talk about the impact to the neighborhood, and Tim’s insight always took a spin that I may not have thought of. Tim was always receptive, and I enjoyed our chats.”

Lori Berger, Digital/Specialty Products, Richner Communications

“I always saw him as our wise old sage. Whenever you’d be upset or stressed or having a rough day, he’d say the perfect thing or make the perfect joke, and it would just make everything better.”

Brian Stieglitz, Editor, East Meadow Herald

“Tim was a remarkable person whose intelligence, thoughtfulness and breadth of experience were rivaled only by his compassion. I’ve never met anyone quite like him.”

Peter Belfiore, Editor, Franklin Square/Elmont Herald, Valley Stream Herald

“Wherever Tim went, he would always light up the room with his presence. He was always a very wise and excellent writer. I appreciate everything that Tim brought to the Herald. He was a very positive people-person. Tim was always willing to help others and would always help his co-workers when they needed an extra eye to look over their writing.”

Nicole Alcindor, Reporter, Valley Stream Herald, Lynbrook/East Rockaway Herald

“Tim and I didn’t work together for too long, but I always appreciated our conversations in passing in the office. Whether it was about life or journalism, he provided great insight to me. I was proud to be a colleague of his.”

Matthew Ferremi, Reporter, Five Towns Herald

“Tim is one of the most knowledgeable journalists I’ve ever met. I’m going to miss his insightful anecdotes.”

Nakeem Grant, Editor, Malverne/West Hempstead Herald

“I got a chance to work with Tim on a story about bail reform. Although we were colleagues for several months, that was the first time I was able to have an in-depth conversation with him. He was incredibly smart and was fully devoted to his craft, which as a young journalist was inspiring to see.”

Darwin Yanes, Reporter, Long Beach Herald

“Tim was a beloved co-worker who will be sorely missed by all of us at the Herald. He had a passion for the job and was not only an excellent editor and reporter but also a mentor for the younger staff members. I’ll definitely miss our conversations about sports and life in general. He was a great guy.”

Tony Bellissimo, Herald Sports Editor

“Tim always seemed to have insight to offer on any number of topics or had an interesting anecdote to share. He was a good, kind person, and his knowledge and wit will be missed.”

Jill Nossa, Editor, Rockville Centre Herald

“Tim always served as a calming, grounded presence in the Herald’s newsroom. He was never short on valuable input from a professional standpoint and was able to dispense personal wisdom at the drop of a hat. Whether he was talking about journalism or regaling us about his countless adventures throughout his one-of-a-kind journey through life, he was an expert at catching people’s ears and improving their mindset.”

Michael Conn, Assistant Editor, Sea Cliff/Glen Head Herald, Glen Cove Herald, Oyster Bay Herald Guardian

“Tim was so many things, but what always stood out for me was his curiosity. He liked people and cared and used his curiosity to find an abundance of ways to help. And it would often lead him to encourage those who needed it and make people feel good about themselves. As journalists we need to be curious, but Tim’s curiosity was 24/7. His generosity of spirit, candor and intelligence will definitely be missed.”

Laura Lane, Senior Editor, Glen Cove Herald Gazette, Sea Cliff/Glen Head Herald Gazette, Oyster Bay Herald Guardian

“Tim was an inspiration and so full of life. Every time I talked to him he told me about another incredible life experience or adventure, and if I could do even a quarter of what he did, I would have lived a full life. His intelligence and kindness touched everyone, and the hole he leaves in the Herald family is huge.”

Christina Daly, Photo Editor