My desk was across from Dori Monson’s desk at KIRO for 13 years. Since our show was on right after his, we had a daily ritual of acknowledging each other while also knowing that each of us were getting ready to do a show. That was at least 3,250 times we had some kind of interaction. It makes me very sad that there will not be another one.
I got a message on Facebook from a listener telling me how sorry he was about Dori. At first I thought it was a hoax. There’s been a meme going around social media in the last month where a person will prank someone they know by making up a fake death and filming their reaction. I was sure that I was being pranked. I did a quick search online and found the story on the station’s website. It stopped me in my tracks.
There are two things that I remember most vividly about Dori.
The first is that he absolutely loved to coach his girls at basketball. When Shorecrest won the State Championship in 2016, he absolutely was beaming with pride the entire week. I was so happy for him and we talked many times about individual games and all the extra time he put in to make that a priority. As his show was winding down, Dori would stage his stuff at his desk for a quick getaway. He had it timed so he could end the show, say a quick goodbye and rush out of the building to make it to practice on time. His love for his team and pride in their accomplishments were a badge of honor for Dori. I’m thinking of how difficult this has to be for all the young women and their families that he impacted in a positive way through coaching. It was about more than wins and losses for Dori. I always admired him for his commitment to the girls at Shorecrest.
The other thing that jumps out to me as I remember Dori is that we disagreed about almost everything. That might seem like a strange thing to focus on in this circumstance. Hear me out though. We disagreed about almost everything, and yet we still respected one another. I can’t tell you how much I valued that about him. It’s easy to write someone off when they have different views than you do. Especially in the Twitter cancellation era. Dori and I never did that. I could see the stack of news stories he read every day – marked up with notes in the margins. He could see the same from me, except that I used a yellow highlighter on my pages.
We were each well informed, and tried our best to communicate what we genuinely believed. We just happen to see things differently most of the time. I never took it personally when he enthusiastically disagreed with me, and I think he never took it personal when I thought he was out of his mind. Both of us respected the fact that at least we were willing to get in the arena and mix it up. Let the chips fall where they may, and be willing to change our minds when presented with compelling arguments that shed new light on our thinking. That is a rare thing indeed, and it made me respect Dori deeply.
When we were let go from KIRO, Dori was one of the first people to call me. Neither of us really knew what to say, but he wanted to make sure that he spoke to me in person and let me know how he felt.
Dori and I weren’t best friends. We didn’t hang outside of work, but we were good friends in the way you can be good friends with the guy whose desk is next to yours for over a decade. We worked shoulder to shoulder in a very cut throat profession and we were on the same team. There’s a unique bond you develop when you’ve had a history like that with someone.
My heart breaks for his wife and girls. I can not even imagine what they are going through right now.
One measure of a life well lived is did you leave the world a better place for having been there. It’s clear to me that by that measure Dori Monson lived a great life.
I’m going to miss him.