When Rich Lowry called me a while ago to report the passing of Bill Buckley, I had to work hard to catch my breath and swallow this news. He was a great man. I am privileged and honored to have shared a part of his wonderful life over the past fifteen years.
I am very sad right now, and so is my wife Judy. She became a great friend of Bill’s and Pat’s, often sitting down with Bill at the piano at dinners in Stamford, or at our place in Redding. They talked a lot about art and classical music. When I phoned Judy this morning with the news she too was brokenhearted.
In the early to mid-1990s when I was on staff at NR — during the worst period in my personal life — Bill and Pat were like surrogate parents. Later on things got better for me and I grew even closer to them. It was wonderful.
At Pat’s memorial service in New York I cried with Bill as we embraced each other. So I am crying again right now at Bill’s passing.
He encouraged me to become a Catholic. He encouraged me to stay sober. He encouraged me to keep writing columns. He encouraged me to stick with my new career in broadcasting. Sometimes he would call, out of the blue, and tell me I was making good progress and that he was proud.
Can you imagine? I’m the one who was proud — proud to be his friend and that he would take a moment of his time to call.
There are so many things I could say about our conversations and discussions and debates — about politics and the economy and so forth. But all of that will come later for me.
Right now my biggest thought — apart from the sadness — is how blessed I am to have been a small part of his remarkable life. His influence on me was enormous.
My deep condolences to Christopher and Priscilla and the rest of the family. I prayed earlier that the Lord Jesus Christ would take good care of Bill and Pat, who are now back together.