Friends remember Alan Lupo

By CLIF GARBODEN  |  October 22, 2008


Trappings of status never mattered to Alan, so the image of him driving a fancy sports car is incongruous.

Some years ago, we were cutting around Coolidge Corner and saw Alan running and jump into a green Jaguar, slowing rolling down an incline. Almost as  quickly, he stopped the car and exited, clearly winded.

"Some guy left his brake off," he said. "I  didn't want it to hit the kids."  Nearby and spilling into the street  were about 100 boys and girls outside Temple Sinai. "The car's not mine," he explained with a sheepish smile  and looked back at the Jag. "I've never even been in one before."

(BTW, he never told Caryl this story.)

— Jim Barron and Margie Arons-Barron,
Phoenix political columnists

When I was editor, Alan Lupo (known to me as Al) presented me with a copy of his latest book, "Liberty's Chosen Home" inscribed with these well chosen words:

"To Bill

"When I was down and out, when I never had a dime, when I was a struggling young nobody, who helped me out by publishing my sporadic columns? Who?

"An editor whose taste is in his mouth! That's who!

"Now I'm a big shot, middle-aged nobody, and I'm doing YOU a favor. $12.50.

"Boy, are you gonna owe me.” – Al Lupo

— Bill Miller,
former editor at the
Globe and the Phoenix

The picture that ran with your nice appreciation of Alan Lupo took me way back. I remember that office, that desk, that face, that head of hair from back in the fall of 1979, when I was an intern at the Phoenix.

I remember the day Alan rescued me from a pile of mind-numbing intern tasks that'd been foisted on me by Anita Diamant — sending out tear sheets, filing invoices, etc. Alan came over and very apologetically asked if I could do a little research for him. He sent me to City Hall to photocopy public records. (Okay, this was only marginally less menial than sending tear sheets, but it felt like journalism to me.) When I arrived back in the office with the correct documents (to Alan's surprise, I think), he praised me like I was a Pulitzer winner. He then began giving me more and more research assignments. Every time I lifted a finger for him, he thanked me profusely. I believe he even touted me to Dick Gaines, Clif Garboden, Tom Frail, and the late John Ferguson, because it seemed that more interesting jobs started coming my way.

Months after I'd finished my internship, the summer after I graduated BU, I applied for a job with the old Boston Ledger, and when the editor, Jon VanScoyoc, asked me for a reference, I called Alan. He got me my reference letter the next day, and he couldn't have been nicer in the way he sang my praises. But the truth is, John probably didn't even read what Alan wrote — the mere fact that I came recommended by Alan Lupo won me the job.

I didn't keep in close touch with Alan over the years, but I used to run into him now and then when we both worked at the Globe. Alan and I would share a minute or two of chitchat, and I always walked away thinking the same thing: Alan Lupo is the kind of guy who when he says, "How you doing?" he's actually interested in hearing your answer.

— Jeff Wagenheim,
senior writer,
Wondertime magazine

Alan loved good stories. He loved to tell them and he loved to listen to them. He was curious, a great listener and a keen observer. If this sounds like he was born to be a reporter, he was.

He could be funny, ironic, anecdotal, analytical and tough-minded. But he never succumbed to the cynicism that infects our business. I found this admirable and honorable.

He always identified with underdogs (if he were from Brooklyn he almost certainly would have been a Dodger fan).

The people of this community were lucky to have Alan telling their stories. I was lucky to have him as a friend and colleague for more almost 50 years.

RIP Alan. You done good.

— Bob Sales,
former editor of the

Al and I were fraternity brothers. His words (spoken and written) always showed a unique combination of wit and wisdom. In May of 1982, I took my step-son to the first Red Sox Old Timers Day game. It touched me deeply to see my boyhood heroes (Ted Williams, Dom Dimaggio, Johnny Pesky et al) on the field once again. I learned (via his full page article about the event in the Phoenix) that Al did me one better. He took his son and his father. And the occasion touched him deeply also. Since this was a time somewhat before modern graphics, I made a photostat of the page and Al signed it for me. He signed it “Thanks for being a sentimental slob. — ” Al Lupo.

The framed page is on the wall in my home office.

— Howard Temkin,
senior account executive, the

I read with sorrow about Al's death.  He was an amazing person. I am looking right now at a book he signed for me:  "To Vicki, an absolute sweetheart of a human being, a gorgeous and bright friend."

That pretty much sums him up, seems to me.

— Vicki Hengen,
former section editor at the

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