I first met Tom O'Leary (South Bay, March 23) nearly six years ago when I was the new editor of a now-defunct weekly newspaper in Redondo Beach and he would call regularly to "familiarize" me with the problems at the Edison plant.
When the so-called "whaling wall" (mural of an enormous whale on the Southern California Edison plant) opened, I drew some criticism for printing Tom's letter, in which he called that wall "a Band-Aid solution," on Page 2 of the same issue that had the wall on the cover. At the time, Tom told me I wouldn't last long at the paper with my "sensibilities." He was right.
Later, as the South Bay correspondent for Senior World of California, one of the first stories I proposed was on Tom. My editor loved it.
Over the next few years we became good friends, having lunch every couple of months. One time he even won the daily lunch raffle at "Texas Loosey's" and wondered aloud what he would do with free tickets to the rock show at The Strand.
At those lunches he would ask me if I thought there would be much interest in a book about how to become an activist in your city, or what I thought about the idea of a citizen review board. He was always thinking.
Tom O'Leary will be greatly missed. He taught me that just because you have to get older, it doesn't mean you have to get old.
ROSS S. YOSNOW \o7 Redondo Beach\f7