I loved Ray Cox's story on Mike Ives ("Non-conformist Ives still charting his own course," Aug. 19). I knew Mike in the 1970s when I was education reporter and he was a sports writer for The Roanoke Times, before he shed his sports jacket and tie and turned columnist.

I fancied myself a pretty good writer, but Mike was much better -- a gross understatement. He was a phenomenal talent. In addition to being a riveting columnist, he was a great feature writer. I was sorry to see him fall from grace. The non-conformity that made him a great columnist also did him in.

JACK CHAMBERLAIN

LANCASTER, VA

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