Veteran Tri-City newsman Chris Sivula died Sunday at his retirement home in Idaho.
Sivula, 62, is remembered by longtime friends and colleagues as quick-witted and funny, a dedicated and objective journalist and a wicked editor who would keep a pen in his mouth as he’d cut through copy.
Overall, he “was just a hell of a good guy,” said Jack Briggs, a retired Tri-City Herald publisher.
“Chris was a talented journalist, he was a loyal employee, and he was taken far too early,” Briggs said. “He had just got to the point where he could take and enjoy his retirement, and it was cut short.”
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Sivula died in his sleep. He is survived by his wife, Betsy, and their daughter Lauren of Kennewick.
Betsy and Chris Sivula spent most of the last year at their new home in Cave Bay, overlooking Lake Coeur d’Alene, after he retired from the Herald in August 2014. Betsy Sivula retired from the Kennewick School District in 2008 after teaching for 28 years.
In his 32-year career at the newspaper, Chris Sivula worked as an intern, a reporter mostly covering Hanford, an assistant city editor and finally as the editorial page editor.
Sivula, in his retirement column, said it had been a pleasure and an honor to work at the Herald. His favorite role was serving as editorial page editor for almost a decade because the job focused on the community’s interests and encouraged discussion on ways to make the Mid-Columbia a better place to live and work.
“There’s no better view of a community than from behind a reporter’s desk at a community newspaper,” he wrote.
Sivula was a 1971 graduate of Kent-Meridian High School in Kent. He attended the University of Alaska and Central Washington University before entering the University of Washington.
In January 1982, Sivula started with the Herald as an intern covering the state Legislature in Olympia.
Sivula moved to the Tri-Cities in June 1982, and later joked that he must have had moss on his back or webbing between his fingers because of his nearly 30 years living in the Puget Sound area.
Sivula also dedicated his time to civic organizations like the Kiwanis Club of the Horse Heaven Hills, Leadership Tri-Cities Class XVI, Dispute Resolution Center of Tri-Cities and the Columbia Basin Badger Club.
“Chris was a live wire ... ,” said Briggs. “He was a dedicated journalist who knew how to have fun. He didn’t take life too seriously.”