OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Rob Hiaasen, one of five Capital Gazette staff members killed in last week’s newsroom shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, was remembered Monday night by family and friends in a Celebration of Life service.
Beneath a sprawling canvas tent on the grounds of the Irvine Nature Center, Hiaasen was fondly recalled as a fun loving man and a gifted writer who was devoted to his family.
His brother and sister and children described a man who loved to laugh and to see others laugh, and was always ready to leaven tough situations with humor.
“The entire ride home, he made me laugh over and over again. But that was Big Rob. That was my dad. Every single time I needed him, he was there and he was there with a laugh,” said Samantha Hiaasen, recalling a long drive home from Florida after dropping off two beloved family dogs.
Former colleagues from the Baltimore Sun where Hiaasen was a feature writer until 2008 recalled a gifted journalist and fun-loving colleague.
“Rob was the best kind of colleague you could have. He was kind and thoughtful to everyone,” said Kevin Cowheard, a former Baltimore Sun colleague and 25-year friend of Hiaasen.
Hiaasen’s older sister, Judy Hiaasen shared memories of Hiaasen as a boy, including some of his pranks like unlocking and reading her diary.
“Rob was mom’s favorite. I always teased him about this and he gleefully took pride in that roll, egging it all on,” said Judy Hiaasen.
Hiaasen’s wife described a husband who was devoted to his family and home.
“I know it’s weird to stand here and say I am lucky, but I am. In fact, [on] Father’s Day, I signed the card ‘Luckiest Woman in the World,’ because he was my best friend. He was so generous, and so loving, and he so cared about our home,” said Maria Hiaasen.