Pete was a very big man, overweight -- although apparently he had lost some weight recently. But 52 is still much too young.
He was a great deal of fun to work with -- he was one of the reasons I looked forward to going into the office. He was a journalist with his priorities in the right place. He sat across from me, and I enjoyed catching his eye about things that were absurd.
And he’s the second Vermont journalist to die this year – Peter Freyne died recently, too. Peter was very sick; he had quit his job a while ago. He was such a staple of Vermont journalism and politics that it’s hard to imagine that he’s gone.
He wrote a weekly column called Inside Track that was mandatory reading for every politician and journalist in the state; one of his hallmarks were the funny nicknames he gave politicians. Howard Dean was HoHo; Gov. Madeleine Kunin was Queen Madeleine; Patrick Leahy was St. Pat. He also covered the state's media, calling them out for mistakes and following who was fired and hired. For a long time I'll bet every new reporter in the state was told on the first day on the job about Peter and the necessity of reading his column.
Peter Freyne was young, too, just 59.
Here's an article about Peter Freyne and one about Pete Hartt.