It couldn’t have been more fitting that following his death, the celebration of Cliff Teutsch’s life would be the biggest gathering of Courant and ex-Courant people since Tribune went bankrupt in 2007.
The upstairs meeting rooms at the Lyceum in Hartford were packed with dozens of writers, photographers, editors, administration folks, friends — all of whom had worked alongside Cliff and thought the world of him.
Cliff’s wife, Patrice Nelson, greeted her guests and said a few words about her late husband as she stood below of photo of him projected on a screen behind her. It was of Cliff on vacation, smiling, in shorts and boat shoes, a knit shirt, standing near a statute of Babe Ruth. Just a regular guy, she said. That’s how he thought of himself.
He was that, of course, but also more. The people there Friday night would tell you how great was his talent and energy as a reporter, his composure and insight as an editor, and his warmth and compassion as a leader.
In an way, the Cliff Teutsch Memorial Party (What else can you call a gathering with a big spread of hors d’oeuvres, wine, and shots of Jack Daniels, Cliff’s favorite drink?) was a wonderful reminder of how strong the bonds are that form in a newsroom through the years. It was the best testament to this regular guy who helped create and foster such a feeling of connection among the people he led.