Bad health and bad weather combined to take four well-known Tri-City old-timers away already this month.
All were major figures in this community, each a part of the everyday life that makes our part of Washington special.
Henry Belair, 88. Henry squeezed more than 15 minutes of fame out of his newspaper advertisement for go-go dancers over 60 for his Downtown Kennewick restaurant.
It got him world attention when he ran the ad in 1984 and continued to do so afterward.
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His O'Henry's restaurant was the settled hangout for "Old Kennewick" people and especially graduates of Kennewick High School. Their class photos adorned the walls of the little restaurant.
Belair also collected political buttons from past and present.
When he sold O'Henry's to Josie Wannarachue, he remained around for a while, talking to old friends, showing new employees how the place worked and, on the side, selling off bits and pieces of his extensive collection of old and new political campaign buttons.
He sold them cheap.
He was told he was doing so but did it anyway.
Some of those buttons found their way into collections of toilers on the Herald's editorial pages.
Jerry Finnegan, 86. A good-hearted soul, a modest man who set extremely high standards for first the Joint Center for Graduate Education in Richland and then its successor, the Tri-City University Center.
He was dean of both institutions, and it was his commitment to excellence that inspired the early advocates for a Tri-City branch campus for Washington State University, a commitment that continues today.
He retired before Washington State University Tri-Cities actually came into existence on the same site as the two previous programs he ran, but he was there for the ceremonies.
Finnegan was generous with time and money for community events.
Despite the seriousness of his job and the responsibilities he carried, he always was cheerful, and had an almost elfin-like air about him.
w Dale Metz, 94. Yachtsman, landowner and marina operator, Dale Metz in his younger days (his 70s and 80s) was a force to be reckoned with in Kennewick.
He operated Metz Marina on Clover Island for 50 years.
Almost anything to do with water travel you could buy from Metz or his son Dale.
The Kennewick City Council paid attention when he spoke, because he had a way of getting things done.
And he had a generous heart. In 1994, when the great earthquake hit California, he organized a drive for Tri-Citians to send money to help survivors or those who had lost their homes cope with the aftermath.
And he was, in a not insubstantial way, a reason the Tri-City Americans have ice to play on in the Tri-Cities.
Long before there was a team, Metz, motivated by pure public spirit, collared everyone he could find to buy season tickets for the first year's hockey games.
The businessman who was promising to erect a stadium demanded a certain percentage of season tickets be sold before he finally would commit to construction.
Metz was a big reason the goal was met.
John Nash, 83. A creative educator, Nash was a school administrator when it was a job with the bark on.
The nation was in such turmoil -- over Vietnam; pot and other drugs, especially LSD; school takeovers; anti-civil rights riots and full-throated politics -- that some educators were having trouble just keeping order.
That hardly was a problem at Richland High School, where students came from homes with Hanford connections and were of a more conservative nature compared to those in, say, Chicago.
Still, Nash enticed his students and teachers with an open mind and a willingness to push boundaries.
He encouraged teachers to assign students tasks that would take them out of the classroom and into the wider world they would soon enter on their own.
He wanted them to be prepared.
At that, as in his own life, he was a great success.