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As in life, death is a natural part of the news business.

Ask any reporter who has been at it for a while. Chances are the reporter can recall the first time his job involved coverage of a violent death. And a lot of us learned the ropes of proper spelling, abbreviations, titles and careful proofreading by writing or editing obituaries. People may forgive the misspelling of a politicians name in a news story, but mess up on the name of Uncle Bob's pallbearer and ... well, you'll never want to go through that again.

What’s the point?

Today, we pay tribute to former state Rep. Jim House, who died Tuesday in a farming accident.

Even with all that practice in dealing with death, there are the sudden deaths of public figures that leave us shocked just like everyone else, that remind us bluntly of the frailty of life and how every breath is a gift.

We're thinking about Trent Trumbo.

Fay Boozman.

Brandon Burlsworth.

Paul Eells.

John Lewis.

This week, the name of Jim House is added to that list, having died from injuries sustained in a farming accident.

It was just weeks ago he came in to visit about his campaign for county judge in Washington County. Victory was unlikely, but Jim House answered the call of the Democratic Party and earnestly campaigned, offering himself yet again in the name of public service. As always, he smiled. He discussed public policy issues of importance. He offered up a few humorous lines. He took in every question with sincerity.

House was never afraid to take advantage of a gimmick, such as sitting horseback along Crossover Road in Fayetteville holding a campaign sign, if it might earn him a few votes. But he respected public service as serious business. He spent a 26-year career in the Arkansas Department of Health, where he rose to administrator of the Washington County unit.

He served in the state Legislature. That's a function of having been elected to the office, earning the support of voters he did not take for granted. But citing that services doesn't complete the description for House. Here's what needs to be said about his time there: He served honorably in the state Legislature. As we learned over the last couple of years, that's not necessarily the truth about everyone in that chamber.

His life wasn't defined, however, by political races. The common theme among colleagues, friends and those who loved him was his kindness. If one person said it, dozens did: He was a good man.

Jim House, we think, would be entirely satisfied that his choices in life would be wrapped up in such an evaluation.

Commentary on 12/07/2018

Print Headline: Our humble House

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