1958 - April 23, 2020
A remembrance by Rev. Bob Bergner
Josh Kovner, husband of Sharon, father of Dan and Kelly, and grandfather of Mila and Gianna, died on Thursday, April 23, from cardiac complications.
I only met Josh briefly a couple of times, but he seemed like a kind and gentle man. Certainly the praise he has received since his death from colleagues and community leaders alike speaks of the talent, energy and dedication that he brought to his professional life as a journalist.
Josh will be greatly missed.
Please keep the Kovners in your prayers. It is the Easter season, the season when our Christian narrative reminds us most explicitly that death is not the end of life’s story. Rather, departure from this physical world is a transformation, a new beginning, an adoption even of greater glory. Josh may have disappeared from the sight of our eyes, but not from the sight of our hearts. And, as Antoine de Saint Exupéry wrote,
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Finally, I am including a link to “Your Heart Is Magnificent,” that Dan Kovner and I wrote a couple of years ago. We sang it once on a Sunday morning. Last week, I made a recording of the song and shared it with Dan who, in turn, shared it with his father. I like to think that that sharing was meaningful to both of them. (Download the words to Dan’s song here.)
God's blessing and God's peace to you all,
Josh Kovner worked at the Hartford Courant for nearly 25 years and was part of a team of journalists that won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the deadly 1998 shootings at the Connecticut Lottery headquarters. He also helped the newspaper become a Pulitzer finalist for reporting on the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.
Born in Manhattan, Kovner grew up in Suffern, N.Y., and was a member of his high school basketball and track teams. He graduated from Temple University in 1981 with a journalism degree. Kovner covered child protection and social justice for the Courant, and also received national recognition for that work.
“Josh was a brilliant storyteller who took seriously his ability to use his position to speak for those whose voices weren’t always heard by those in authority,” Andrew S. Julien, the Courant’s publisher and editor-in-chief, said. “From investigating abuses of the mentally ill to neglect in group homes to exploring the events leading up to the Sandy Hook massacre, Josh displayed a unique combination of tenacity, compassion and insight.”
Kovner, a Hamden resident, shared his skills with a new generation of journalists as an adjunct professor at the University of New Haven. And he was a mentor to other reporters at the Courant.
“Josh was an incredible journalism teacher for his actual students and the young reporters who had the good fortune to work alongside him, myself included,” Zach Murdock, a breaking news reporter who was hired by the Courant last year, said.
On Thursday, Kovner drew praise from those he covered, for both his toughness and his fairness.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal tweeted: “Dedicated & diligent, Josh Kovner epitomized the very best of his craft. Every time I was interviewed by Josh, I knew the questions would be pointed, but the story would always be fair.”