RIP Terry Fiedler

Former CP staff writer Burl Gilyard has written an eloquent tribute to Terry Fiedler, the veteran Star Tribune reporter who died suddenly on Saturday at the age of 47. The piece originally appeared in Finance & Commerce (subscription only), where Gilyard covers the commercial real-estate beat.

F&C has graciously agreed to allow the article to be re-posted here.

Good-bye to an old friend - and friendly competitor

By By Burl Gilyard, F&C Real Estate Writer August 17, 2006

When I started working for Finance and Commerce a few years ago, I found myself in competition with my old friend Terry Fiedler. Fiedler was then covering the commercial real estate beat for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The idea of us competing was more than a little comical to me. Terry had been covering the local business community since I was in high school. Although we never worked for the same publication, I considered him an older colleague and mentor.

But for a time, we were chasing the same stories and talking to the same people. Terry broke news, wrote compelling stories and brought seasoned perspective to his commercial real estate coverage. If you're reading this column, Terry may have written about you or your company.

On midday Saturday, I got the stunning, heartbreaking news that Terry, age 47, had died that morning in the home of his girlfriend, Kelli. Shell-shocked family and friends gathered, trying to make sense of something that still makes no sense to anyone.

Before joining the Star Tribune in 1996, Terry had been editor of Corporate Report magazine, a job he loved. Under Terry, the now-defunct magazine was a stellar regional business magazine.

Early in his career, Terry had worked for the Minnesota Business Journal and the Boston-based New England Business Journal. Both titles were defunct long ago.

Even though Terry lamented the superficial trends of the modern news business, he was truly passionate about reporting and journalism. Terry had a strong work ethic. Last week alone he had four bylines in the paper.

If someone asked me to say good things about Terry Fiedler, I would never shut up. Terry loved his family and would often quote his father, who runs the Fiedler Ford car dealership in Grantsburg, Wis. Terry was always reading. He loved Jim Harrison, Cormac McCarthy, Richard Ford, Thomas McGuane and J.F. Powers.

A proud native of western Wisconsin, Terry was a lifelong fan of the Green Bay Packers and hosted an annual "Packer Party" at his home. He loved "The Shack Sandwich" at the late, great Pickled Parrot restaurant in downtown Minneapolis.

Terry was a generous and selfless friend to many. To list them here would take up this entire column and still leave out too many names. He loved music, particularly Warren Zevon. Like Zevon, Terry had a dark, self-deprecating sense of humor and a heart of gold. We cursed and lamented Zevon's own premature death, to cancer, at age 56 in 2003. We had seen Zevon's last local concert a few years earlier at First Avenue.

He kidded me on the phone when I would tell him that I had to "scamper." Terry loved words and there was something about "scamper" that tickled him. It became an inside joke between us. The dictionary on my desk defines "scamper" as "to run or go hurriedly or quickly."

You scampered far too soon, old friend.

Wherever you are, I hope they've already put you to work at the magazine.

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