Reality Check–Reader Responses

I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you again to all the people who reached out to send condolences and kind words about my late father, James Vincent Campion, who died last October. When I began writing “The Day My Father Died” I wasn’t sure how it would come out of me. As an essayist and columnist who pens plenty of tributes and eulogies of writers, artists, politicians, musicians, etc., you always worry what you could possibly say if someone close to you passes. This was my best effort under really tough circumstances. I can’t begin to even hope to sufficiently honor the legacy and memories of my hero. My mom dug it, so I was relieved about that. 

So, needless to say, to hear back as I did from so many of The Check Group and beyond was comforting and quite frankly overwhelming. Here are just some of the responses to the piece. I wish I could add all the phone calls, texts, messages, and Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook comments, but there’s only so much space and I wanted to make sure you knew what it meant to me and my family.

So poignant, James. My dad once asked me what I feared most in life, and I responded, “Your death.” Something special about a dad. Again, I am so sorry for your loss. As with Mary, I feel like a part of the compound has gone.

—Joe “Commander” Vengen

Lovely reflection. My dad has been gone 23 years, and it is still hard to write about. You put it down into words. Amazing. A nice tribute.

—Heidi Guss

Loved your dad, one of the best…. a gentle, caring soul

—from his North Zealand Mates and Jenny Otway

So sorry for your loss, what a nice tribute to a life well lived. 

—Jen Multari


That was some of your finest work. Very relatable and written in a way that makes you not read the words but yet feel them. I offer you kudos on a fine piece of work and I also offer you prayers and condolences for your loss.

Bill Roberts

Conservatively Speaking

Ahhh, James. So sorry, friend. I’m glad I got to see you this week.

—Felipe Molina

Beautiful tribute to your dad, he was a very special man, and our family will miss him. We had the opportunity to share very special moments with him. He will be missed.

—Maria Pinto

Oh, so sorry to hear this, Jim. Healing thoughts and prayers to you and the family.

—Ken Mihalik

Beautiful, jc. Hope you got my message and you and the girls are well, thinking of everyone now.

—Daniel Mastrangelo Sariyan

A lovely tribute to your dad! My deepest condolences on your loss. I can relate to your story on so many levels. Sending prayers for strength.

—Janien Guntermann

So sorry for your loss, my friend.

—Dan Davis

So sorry for your loss, James.

—Joanne Burnett Drew Vinales

Beautiful piece Jim. So sorry for your loss. 

—Ed Coughlin

We all love you and your family, James

—Tom White

Wonderful.  R.I.P. Mr. Campion.

—Al Quagliata

My condolences, James. Sending love and strength your way.

—Cameron McGill

So sorry for your loss, James

—Maria Taylor

Ohhhhh! So sorry for your loss, James…sending hugs and keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

—Janien Darby

Thinking of you, so sorry for your loss, big hugs and love to the entire family.



—Bo Blaze 

May sweet memories of your dad bring you unexpected smiles during this sad time.

—LJ Parisi

James, this is a beautiful tribute to your dad and your relationship with him.

—Elizabeth Vengen Esq.