When we think of working parents, we tend to focus on the people who still have young ones at home. But you don't cease to be a working parent just because your kids grow up and leave the nest.
This week, our esteemed colleague and dear friend, longtime chief of correspondents Jim Ellis, lost a child. It was a most horrific, unfathomable tragedy, news that just ripped the heart out of every single person at BusinessWeek and McGraw-Hill who has worked with Jim and knows what a devoted father he has always been. His son, David, youngest of three, succumbed to smoke inhalation in an early morning fire in his apartment near the University of Maryland, where he was finishing up his last year.
By all accounts, David was a popular, funny guy who loved hip-hop music, had a huge record collection, and was a DJ on the campus radio station. Many of us remember him as an adolescent, in the days when BusinessWeek threw an annual yearend holiday party for staffers and their children, and he would be sitting quietly at a table with his parents and siblings.
Jim never stopped talking about his kids, worrying about them, filling us in on their lives just because they were adults. He was a parenting mentor and adviser to many of us whose children were younger than his.
Jim was a working parent when he raised his children, he is a working parent today. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this very sad time.