There is a tendency to sing the praises of people who pass away. Who among us hasn't heard "He/she was so nice. He/she was such a good person" at a funeral or a memorial service? For many of us, it becomes a bit of a cliche, something you're expected to say when a person dies.
But if anyone was deserving of such praise, it was 26-year old Anne Pressly, a morning anchor of the ABC affiliate in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Anne was attacked October 20 in her home Sunday night. She was found by her mother the following morning, after she failed to answer the phone. She succumbed to those injuries later in the week.
As many you know, I was a reporter in Little Rock for two years. Although I worked for Anne's competition, I knew her fairly well. We saw each other socially and sometimes out in the field when we covered the same story. In an industry known for it's cutthroat and competitive nature, Anne was a breath of fresh air. Energetic, engaging, inquisitive and willing to go the extra mile while not stepping on toes of those around her. She was truly a gem, always willing to help others. That giving nature continued, even in death; her family donated her organs.
The last time I spoke to Anne was in 2006 when she was up for a job at another television station in Oklahoma City. "What was the market like?" she asked. "What is similar to Little Rock? What's the cost of living?" Again, always inquisitive. But Anne clearly like her current job and her adopted hometown; she opted to remain in Arkansas' Capital City.
Anne was not a party animal and she was selective in who she associated with, leading many of us who knew her and worked with her to conclude that she was attacked by a random stalker. Police have yet to name or arrest a suspect in her death.
We can only hope that changes soon so that her family and her colleagues find some level of closure.