I will get right to the point.
The Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News is about to lose a superstar. He is a jewel to the craft he pursued for nearly four decades and to the community he served with wit, compassion, empathy, wisdom and occasionally with bite.
Jon Mark Beilue has let the cat out of the bag. He spilled the beans. He rolled over and squealed.
Jon Mark is retiring at the end of the week. He is walking away from the Globe-News and heading for some unknown future. He isn’t worried. He has earned whatever rewards await him. Jon Mark decided to tell the world via Facebook prior to signing off on his farewell column for the paper.
Beilue was sports editor of the G-N when I arrived there in January 1995, but it became evident almost immediately that his world view extended far beyond balls and strikes, touchdowns, three-point shots. He would make a move to newspaper columnist, where he managed to chronicle the community’s stories through the eyes and the voices of those who live in the Panhandle.
He wasn’t a Pollyanna. On occasion, Jon Mark was known to unsheathe his rhetorical dagger. If the moment presented itself, he was unafraid to take on the establishment, or to go after individuals or political groups that he thought, um, needed a whuppin’.
He built his reputation through a lifetime in West Texas, starting in Groom, where he grew up and came of age, to Texas Tech University, where he got his post-secondary education and then at the Globe-News, where he spent his entire professional career.
Jon Mark has seen a lot of change over the years. He has been through a lot of the tumult and turmoil that has plagued the media industry, particularly in recent years — and has continued to thrive.
He saw a lot of colleagues come and go during his time at the Globe-News. I am just one of them. I’ll just say that I am proud of my professional association with this man. He is a consummate pro, a man with a huge heart, and someone who possesses a rare rhetorical gift of expression.
I don’t know, of course, what he’ll say in his farewell piece that will see print in a few days. I am absolutely certain he will say it with customary class and wit.
Well done, my friend.