The real Chuck Stone

As I write this, I know a lot is being written at the Daily News and elsewhere about Chuck Stone.

A lot of what is written is being written from clips, from people who didn't know the magnificent Chuck Stone. 

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Chuck Stone

Of course there was his courage, background, eloquence and journalistic skill. But there was more.

He was brave and colorful enough to wear a Native American-style hat atop his Brooks Brothers' threads and persistent bow tie.

Here's something you may not read elsewhere. The guy smelled great, always. If you didn't hear him arrive, his expensive cologne announced his presence. I forget what the fragrance was, but it stuck with him all day. Expensive.

He was pretty modest about his achievements and almost always available to help someone who needed help, whether an inmate or a colleague.

At the height or my "celebrity" as a gossip columnist I felt I was pretty well-known in this town. Not that I am bragging on myself, that was just a fact.

One Spring afternoon I walked with Chuck from our office at 400 N. Broad to City Hall. We couldn't take more than two steps without people shouting at, "Yo, Chuck!" Or "Hey, Stone!" 

Cab drivers, passersby, newsstand vendors, doctors and nurses at Hahnemann, students at Roman -- you name it. To the extent that any journalist ever owned this town -- and there have been some strong pretenders -- none could touch Stone.

No one is perfect and Stone wasn't. He had an eye for the ladies and they had an eye for him. He had an epic, 30-year war with Rev. Bill Gray, even though both men believed in the same things. There was an expression that maybe explained it, which I will soften to read they battled to see who was the real "leader" of the black community.

He had a full life and when I knew him, he enjoyed every minute of it.