It has not quite sank in for me that my good friend, and esteemed former colleague, Brad Memberto, is gone.
Brad left this earth Sunday, at the age of 63, because of complications from diabetes.
He had a big impact on a lot of people, including me. I’d known Brad since I first started at the Times, in September of 2000.
Brad often cracked people up with his humor. He had a marvelously quick wit.
Brad was the PA announcer for the semi-pro Santa Maria Indians for years. Their job responsibilities would often stress the new members of the Indians’ public relations staff. Brad, with his witty banter, would put them at ease.
The late, beloved Clarence “Scoop” Nunes - I never heard anyone address him as Clarence - was the Indians’ general manager for 43 years.
Part of Brad’s job description was to pitch certain products.
“After Scoop Nunes is done yelling at his team,” Brad would sometimes intone between innings with his distinctive voice, “He likes to relax with an ice cold ....” whatever drink was being pitched.
Scoop, whose approval was not always easy to come by, would heartily approve.
I miss our conversations. There would be times that we argued about, well almost everything, but we had a lot of good discussions, too.
Brad, of course, was a huge sports fan. He loved his Los Angeles Dodgers. He loved his L.A. Kings. He loved covering local sports, which he did with distinction for Lee Central Coast Newspapers from 2007-15. He loved covering the Northern Santa Barbara County Round Table, which he also did with distinction.
Brad cared about other things too, though. He was distressed about 9/11. He was distressed when the country couldn’t seem to get through a month without a school shooting happening. He said somberly that the country is the most divided it has been since the Civil War.
The nation was terribly divided after the Vietnam War but, really, I don’t think I can dispute Brad’s statement. The tribalism and partisanship in the Republic is over the top, has been for decades.
Those of us in the Lee Central Coast News sports department are usually the "good news" guys.
Brad was a devoted son to his mother, Marie. He made a point of not making a point to others that he was a devoted son, but his devotion to his mom was easy to see.
Though he followed politics, Brad generally did not want to hear people TALKING about politics.
Brad knew that, rather than morphing into a thoughtful exchange of ideas, a heated political discussion usually remained just that. He made it clear to those around him that he did not want to hear it, particularly while he was working. That was wise, I think.
Brad covered a lot of big games as a print journalist, including the ones in 2010 and 2011 when the Lompoc football team won CIF Southern Section divisional championships.
Though he served with distinction as a print journalist, Brad’s journalistic roots were in broadcasting.
Most of his time as an anchor at radio station KUHL was before my time here, but I heard many a sports broadcast from him, mainly when I covered Hancock football broadcasts, with Brad as the play-by-play man and Irvin Kiger as the color commentator.
I thought Brad was an excellent broadcaster. Smooth, distinctive delivery. Witty. Concise. Incisive. Not overly dramatic, but Brad knew when to ramp up the tone of his delivery. I never heard Brad and Irvin talk over each other.
Brad wrote a lot of fine sports articles, but one memorable piece for me that Brad wrote was a movie review.
Brad doubled for a time as a movie reviewer for our Lifestyle section. Brad began his review of “Bruno,” with, “I went to see this movie because my editor made me.”
Farther down came, “The movie follows a moron through a series of mis-adventures.”
“Bruno” received an F minus on Brad’s grading scale, the Brad-o-Meter.
When the review came out, I was amused at the generation gap in our little part of the newsroom.
“Brad doesn’t get satire,” 22-somethings in the sports department grumbled. A co-worker closer to my age told Brad she thought his review was spot on.
Me, I thought Brad got the gist of that particular flick just fine. If I had been the one stuck reviewing that movie, I would have been hard-pressed not to bail in the first 10 minutes. Brad, hating every second, fulfilled his professional obligation and stayed to the end.
My late father once said that he knew many people, had many friends, but doubted that he could count on more than a handful of them in a crunch. Brad was a friend who could be counted on to deliver in a crunch.
One night he stayed with a co-worker in the emergency room after Brad’s colleague had an allergic reaction (Brad did get a little miffed that an earnest but unknowing emergency room worker asked him if he was his 20-something colleague’s father).
An underfunded athletic program or project needed a lift? Brad was that guy.
We miss you, Brad.