"Saying goodbye to a friend who shared wisdom with me" by: Mike Reddell

   Haskell Simon, one of the best friends I’ll ever have, died last week.
   He really was one of the best friends Matagorda County will ever have for that matter.
   My first introduction was my time at the Tribune.
   No matter which medium you worked for, Haskell reached out to new reporters, editors and publishers.
   What he offered was truly priceless – sharing knowledge and understanding of what made Matagorda County tick.
   That knowledge of water issues and their history in the state and this county were unmatchable.
   For years, Haskell would travel to Austin to testify on those issues before legislators and regulators alike.
   His long-acquired and detail-driven learning of the Colorado River almost always rivaled that of LCRA chieftains over the years.
   He was at perhaps his most persistent when he encountered Austin bureaucrats and politicians who moved the priorities of the Colorado River flow to serve the Austin area and Highland reservoirs first.
   That’s not how the LCRA began.
   Nonetheless, he was respected by friends and opponents because his presentations and conversations were honest and borne of experience.
   Born to a farming and retail family in Bay City, Haskell spent almost all of his life here, save for Texas A&M where he graduated with an engineering degree and the U.S. Army as an artillery officer.
   Of course the Texas A&M part was something we shared.
   We both were in the Corps of Cadets and often shared Corps memories over lunch with former cadet and county commissioner George Deshotels.
   Haskell also was a member of the Fighting Texas Aggie Band.
   The late Tribune reporter Willy Woods once told me that he went to Haskell’s office, where he was listening to the Aggie War Hymn and crying.
   I understood. There are many Aggies who can identify with that.
   There was always a tinge of rivalry between corps outfits and the band and George and I would relentlessly tease Haskell to his feigned outrage.
   To me, George and countless others, Haskell was more than anything an exceptionally loyal friend. 
   When I was going through chemo-therapy for cancer, Haskell would pick me at a moment’s notice, drive me to a restaurant and order a steak dinner for me to help in my battle.
   He also would call and ask about the welfare of my family and me.
   That was so representative of what Haskell did for many of us he left behind.
   Haskell stood for integrity in all of his pursuits – he was a role model for me.
   Strangely, on my part, I think his message on an answering machine was the most endearing.
   “This is Haskell Simon…” perfectly capturing his South Texas drawl.
   He was my friend. 

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