A man with the heart of a lion
Jesse Snyder is senior writer for Automotive News.
Jack Teahen reminded me of Georg Auer, Austrian correspondent for Automotive News Europe who also worked well into his eighties.
Both were slightly built, but each had the heart of a lion.
Jack grew up in Detroit as an auto industry brat and stayed.
Georg fled his native Austria when it was annexed by Germany in the late 1930s and washed up in England as it mobilized for World War II. He volunteered to fight for the Allies, but as a German speaker was moved out of the European theater. The Austrian served in the Australian army, an alliterative irony he found vastly amusing.
I met Jack in 1982 when he was managing editor of Automotive News, a kindly man patient with young reporters.
When I joined ANE in 2001, Auer was already a legend on the European auto beat, an octogenarian dynamo outworking reporters half his age. Georg was the oldest working journalist I knew, except perhaps for Jack. Both were a bit vague about their exact age. Jack's humor was dry, Georg's earthy.
Georg traveled everywhere. Jack seldom left his office and focused on sales, production and pricing -- stuff now labeled performance metrics or data-driven analysis. Jack called it facts and arithmetic.
Yet despite the outer differences, Jack and Georg were as alike as peas in a pod. Both had a fierce devotion to fact. Both had deep insight born of decades covering the auto industry. Both wrote stories that quickly cut to the chase. Both commanded the trust that comes when senior executives of companies you cover have read your stories their entire professional careers. Both wrote crisp yet elegant prose.
And both worked until weeks before their deaths -- because they loved what they did.
You can reach Jesse Snyder at firstname.lastname@example.org.