Remembering Doris Mansour

I had never heard of Doris Mansour before this morning, but thanks to an excellent obituary by John Dorschner in this morning's Miami Herald, I feel like I've met her. Mansour, who died Tuesday at the age of 68, was the office manager and copy editor for the Herald's defunct Tropic Magazine. Dorschner contacted former Tropic writers far and wide to paint a picture of both Mansour and Tropic, quoting Madeleine Blais, Gene Weingarten, Dave Barry, and Meg Laughlin, among others.

All had insightful observations, with Weingarten providing a bit about how Mansour, who had only a high school education, came up with a great headline on a story about a fishing tournament -- "Bass Hysteria" -- when a roomful of Ivy Leaguers and Pulitzer winners couldn't muster a thing. But it was Laughlin, who now works at the St. Petersburg Times, who supplied the most memorable -- and heartbreaking -- lines of

the obit: ------------------------------------------------------------------ She retired at the end of 1998, when The Miami Herald decided to kill the magazine.

''On her last day . . . I walked her out of the building. She had trouble walking because her knees were so bad,'' recalls Laughlin. "She held onto the railings in the hall to get to the elevator. Then, she pushed her palms against the walls to brace herself.

"Struggling down that narrow corridor on the first floor toward the exit, for the last time, she said, 'I feel like I'm going to my execution. Without Tropic, there's not much left for me.' '' -------------------------------------------------------------------

That put a damn lump in my throat. Read the article.

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