LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — It's a blow to greater Lafayette's sports reporting scene. Local legend Jeff Washburn died Wednesday, after decades of writing, at the age of 63.
His death came less than 24 hours after reporting on his last game at Mackey Arena.
Those News 18 spoke to say they take comfort in knowing he died doing what he loved.
"He never met a person he didn't treat as a friend. Kind of like the Will Rogers of sports writing," said Journal & Courier sports journalist Ken Thompson.
Jeff Washburn leaves behind a legacy.
Alan Karpick of Gold and Black said, "He's really been an iconic figure in this community."
The Lafayette native started his career fresh out of high school at the Journal and Courier.
Co-workers say he was a joy to work with.
"He was the kind of person that everybody loved. He was funny. He was fun to be around. He was a story teller. He was just a good guy," said friend and colleague John Norberg.
"Everyday was fun. We laughed, and it wasn't a job with Jeff around," said Thompson.
His passion for his sports was obvious through his dedication to his job.
Even after a diagnosis of esophageal cancer, he still insisted on working until the end.
"Few people get a chance to do that, do something they love until the end of their life. It was disappointing that his life ended earlier than it should have, but by the same token, his ability to do that is pretty remarkable," said Karpick.
Wash was also known for his quirks too.
Thompson said, "He didn't like to wear coats, no matter how cold it got."
"Wash was kind of a food critic and when he found a restaurant whether it be in the Big Ten or around here that he loved, it would make its way into his work,” Norberg.
Despite his quirks, friends and co-workers say he never met a stranger and quickly became friends with anyone he met.
"He lived a charmed life and I'm going to miss him very much," Thompson.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Cheryl and son Jade.
Funeral arrangements for Wash are pending.
He will be well remembered.
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