It is customary at the end of each year to look back and remember important figures who have died over the previous twelve months. But, instead of offering a laundry list of well-known deceased people’s accomplishments, for Busted Halo’s Faithful Departed feature we asked our writers to reflect on the spiritual impact that people—or institutions, buildings etc.—that passed away in 2008 had upon them. While most of our subjects had no explicit religious connections, their ability to touch souls—testified to in this year’s reflections—is beyond doubt. From a sports commentator and a cardinal to a comedian and the “House that Ruth Built,” these reflections demonstrate how powerfully alive the sense of the sacred can be in the most unexpected people and places.
Here’s the first of my reflections on those that died this past year. We start with Tim Russert.