The Corner

National Review

Farewell to Mike

I just glanced at what Mike Potemra posted to his Facebook page in his final hours: a pair of observations about the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Capitals, a wry remark about the length of a Vatican document, and an amusing remembrance of Tom Wolfe, who died shortly before Mike did. Together, they give a good sense of his ranging interests as a lover of high and low culture and a restless man of faith. Mike was also a fine editor, and I enjoyed working with him. He owned a distinctive, raspy voice, but mostly we communicated by email. I’m an early riser and he was a nighthawk. We often did our business shortly before dawn, going back and forth with emails about the way a sentence should read.

Yesterday, I was stunned by the news of Mike’s death. Today, I’m both saddened and weirdly consoled by the thought that a forthcoming review of mine must be one of the last articles he ever edited.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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