To remember Carlos Hernandez Gomez is to smile.
Carlos was one of those people who brought you
joy just by walking through the door. You knew that he’d make you
laugh. It might be funny, witty or outrageous, but Carlos was sure to
say something that would bring a smile to your face.
I had the honor of working with Carlos nearly 10 years ago when we were both reporters at The Chicago Reporter.
Carlos fit in well. We were a bunch of young, energetic and idealistic
journalists, passionate about our work and a bit wild, at times, when
During his year at the Reporter, Carlos built a vault
of fond memories, as I’m sure he did at WBEZ, CLTV and WGN-TV. But
there should have been more. We talked about getting together and
reliving old times and hearing about the new times, as well. We’d
matured, married and moved on to new jobs. It warmed my heart to see
him succeed in life and love, since we’d shared many beers, stories and
even a few tears about our fears and failures in both of those worlds.
I remember his uncertainty about applying for a
political reporter job at WBEZ. At that time, he’d never worked in
radio and wasn’t sure if he’d be a competitive applicant. “Are you
serious?” I remember telling him. “You’re a natural.”
He was a restless soul, always in motion, always in
conversation, always on the hunt for the next story. It helped enable
him to make such a lasting impression on the countless folks he
encountered and to leave such a long legacy even though he’d only been
on the Chicago journalism scene for a relatively short time.
Carlos never met a conversation he didn’t like, and
even then he knew more about the ins and outs of the Chicago political
scene than even the most seasoned political journalists. He was perhaps
Chicago’s biggest political junkie, a budding superstar as a political
reporter. We were blessed to see him in that role for as long as we
did, and we will surely miss his talents, his character and his
For the rest of my days, I will regret not taking the
steps to make sure that we had at least one more round to talk about
politics, our mutual love for Pam Grier and our favorite scenes from
the movie “New Jack City,” including the one we’d act out from time to
time. Whenever we’d see one another in the office or at an event,
Carlos would call out: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” And, just like in
the movie, I’d reply: “Yes, I am.”
Despite his bout with cancer, I thought we’d have
practically a lifetime to catch up. When I last spoke to him, he
assured me that he was feeling well and that everything would be OK. He
was so convincing, I’d stopped worrying about his health and assumed
that he’d have many more years. Always upbeat, Carlos had an unbeatable
spirit. Cancer may have beaten Carlos’ body, but not his spirit nor his will. Even until his final hours, Carlos remained positive, and he fought.
He was an unforgettable reporter and an unforgettable
person. Surely, our days will be a little bit darker without him. “Am I
my brother’s keeper? Yes I am.”
Carlos, we’ll miss you, brother.