The closing days of March saw the finishing of a busy and useful life and a promising career, in that they witnessed the death of the journalist whose name stands at the head of these remarks. Mr. Wakeman was talented and versatile, and was blessed with a diligence so persistent that it was itself a high talent. He worked very hard, and in various fields of labor; but whatever his deft hand and his fertile brain undertook to do, they did well. Whether it was to stand in a jostling crowd at night and take down a wild political harangue in short-hand on his shirt-collar and his wristbands; or make a response to a toast at a social gathering; or report stenographically, write out, and telegraph a four-column speech, all in the space of six hours; or pen a pleasant magazine article or an odd newspaper sketch; or dash off a dozen graceful chapters of fashion gossip to let a lady journalist take a holiday -- the result was the same in every case: the work was done well.
Mr. Wakeman's first magazine article was written for THE GALAXY -- "Torturing the Alphabet" -- and it was so generally liked and so widely copied that it made his name extensively known at once. He afterwards wrote articles for all the leading literary papers and periodicals of the day. Yet he was always at his post, and ready to move at a moment's notice when the stenographic report of a speech or a meeting was required for the "World's" columns.
He would have continued to contribute to THE GALAXY had he lived, and it was purposed that his humor should enrich and his fancy grace this department of the magazine especially.
George Wakeman had in his fine nature that persuasive goodness and gentleness
that win not simply the esteem but the love of all who come within their influence;
and he had likewise that unwavering fidelity to his friendships which retains
the love so garnered while life lasts. It is hard for most of us to comprehend
how a man can be loved by every creature who knows him -- the good and the bad,
the high and the low, the rich and the poor, the proud and prosperous, and the
humble and helpless -- but he experienced it all his days, and to him it was
no mystery. One journalist, in speaking of this, finely says, "His enemies
were never born." For years no writer's death has called forth such
loving things as were sown broadcast through the newspapers concerning George
Wakeman. The Legislature of the State (he was official reporter of the House)
took public notice of his death, an adopted resolutions which testified to his
high worth and the great and warm regard in which he was held. Let me add my
earnest tribute to the grand sum of regret which makes this death conspicuous
in that it is manifestly so singularly sincere, and profoundly mourned.
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