The Cavalier Daily family lost one of its finest journalists and greatest friends with the death of Jeff Carlton on Feb. 21 after a long fight with a brain tumor.
As someone who became the best of friends with Jeff while working at the CD, I got to see just how much the newspaper taught him and how he used that knowledge to give every story its due—whether at the Final Four, in the Stanley Cup Finals, in a regular-season high school basketball game, or at the Great Alaska Shootout.
Jeff was in my wedding in October 2002, less than four months after his tumor was first discovered and he underwent his first surgery. He continued to live his life to the fullest in his relationships and his career.
There was so much he didn’t want to tell me or just about anyone about his fight to stay alive, so his passing at age 36 came as quite a shock to so many. I hope he knows how much he’s missed.
There are times when I wish I could pick up the phone and call him—like when the Capitals just made their improbable run to the playoffs or the Nationals opened up their new ballpark. Back at the CD, we wrote dueling columns about whether Washington deserved a major league baseball team. He said they did, and I said they didn’t. Now here I am living in Arlington and working at The Washington Times, getting to enjoy watching and reading about the Nats.
Jeff remained true to the District, even as his career took him to Danville, Charlottesville and Greensboro, N.C. He was about the only friend I could count on to keep up with U.Va. baseball and lacrosse.
One time, Jeff was covering the rookie-level Danville Braves. Left-hander John Rocker approached Jeff and told him, “I heard you wrote that I [bleeping bleeped] out there.” Jeff, calmly as ever, responded that he had simply mentioned Rocker’s pitching line, and that would have to speak for itself.
Wish I had been there, but I can picture Jeff remaining ever stoic, except slightly sarcastic and in no way vindictive. He was always a credit to the profession, putting the story ahead of himself.
–Lacy Lusk (’92, Sports editor)