Coleman Lollar
AUGUST 1, 1993 -- Maybe you should know that Coleman Lollar, who died of cancer in June, was the business traveler we all aspire to be.

Coleman knew the address of the best small hotel in Paris. He had the phone number of the most fastidious custom tailor on the ltaewon in Seoul. He would tip you to the best bar in Sydney and the nicest little steak joint in Greenwich Village. He'd fly on airlines in North Africa that hadn't even been listed in the OAG Pocket Flight Guide yet.

Maybe you should know that Lollar, who was managing editor of Frequent Flyer between 1980 and 1987, was the editor we all hope to be.

He was generous to and reassuring with writers who'd blown an easy assignment. He cherished good writing and a timely turn of phrase. He'd handle copy gently, with an abiding respect for its creator's personal style. And he did what writers always wanted editors to do: when he read a story he admired in another publication, he would track down the writer and invite them to work for his magazine. I was one of the writers who got the call and now I sit in his old chair.

Maybe you should know that Coleman Lollar, who wrote this magazine's Airlines column in recent years. was the writer we'd all like to be.

Coleman's stories created an instant and intimate rapport with his readers' lives. He presented his facts and insights with grace and dignity and quietly wrapped them in an envelope of compassion and good humor. He'd help you understand. And he'd make you feel.

Or maybe all you really need to know about Coleman Lollar, who died at 47, was that he was one of those rare human beings who made the world a better place simply by living his life.

Coleman was, above all, a gentleman. If it was right, he was for it. If it was wrong, he was against it--and he'd work to change it. He made everyone who knew him feel special. And in a world where the rest of us are often too busy to make the friendly gesture and too weary for the personal connection, Coleman always found the time and the energy.

Coleman knew his death was near and he made a gently defiant public peace with the inevitable in the June issue of Travel & Leisure magazine. And not at all surprising for a man who said he had never seen a road he did not want to travel, some of his thoughts were of places he hadn't yet been: Thailand, Nepal and Zanzibar.

It may be that Carole King was right when she suggested that "one more song about moving along the highway/can't say much of anything that's new." But in our own self-centered way, we feel profoundly cheated. Now that Coleman didn't make it to Thailand or Nepal or Zanzibar, he can't write us even one more song.

And ridiculous as it may sound, we can't help but believe that Thailand and Nepal and Zanzibar will somehow be forever and irretrievably poorer for never having had Coleman Lollar moving along their highways. -- Joe Brancatelli for the staff of Frequent Flyer and the OAG Travel Magazines

This column originally appeared in Frequent Flyer magazine.