Most people know Tony Trupiano from his radio shows, podcast, posts here or as a Democratic activist who could always be counted on to help a candidate on the campaign trail or emcee an event.
Tony was all those things. But most of all, he was just a really good man and a great friend. The world is poorer without him.
He was the kind of person you could always count on. And he was always there for both my husband, Joe DiSano, and me. He was absolutely thrilled when Joe and I found one another and was naturally one of the few people we invited to our small wedding reception.
Tony called me on my fortieth birthday because he heard I was alone in the Uinta mountains and wanted to make sure I was OK (I was; I just needed a break from the 2016 election drama).
In my former career as a journalist and in Joe’s work as a political consultant, we both had our fair share of detractors. Tony would always defend our honor, even when we begged him not to, because that’s just who he was. He was fiercely loyal and unbelievably giving. Unfortunately, some people took advantage of Tony’s generosity. After his last radio show ended, not everyone stuck with him. But I’m not sure I ever heard Tony speak a cross word about anyone. He was the quintessential happy warrior.
On his radio show, Tony would have longform conversations with people. He was an amazing listener. There really isn’t another show I’ve been on where a host would delve into issues the way he would. That’s because Tony would spend hours preparing for every show and you could tell. His show was never about him and proving how smart he was. It was about people and important issues and trying to make a difference. And his listeners were remarkably loyal.
I had many great mentors in journalism, but honestly, it was Tony who may have taught me the most with his empathy and passion.
I remember one conversation with him at a really trying time in my career five years ago. Tony was one of the few people who was there for me and helped me believe everything would be OK. He said that the editor at his first newspaper job told him that at the end of the day, he should answer one question: “Did I hurt anyone today who didn’t deserve it?”
I’ve failed at that at times, especially early in my career. I’ve failed at many things in my life. But they are words to live by and I try to do so every day.