Typically, this column is written in the third person, so we might both honor the passing of an individual and note how that person’s life offered us the gift of touching on larger issues of which we should always be mindful. This particular column, however, will be written in the first person, as I know the subject. Or I should say, I did not know him well enough.
Richard Niles was the Senior Tax Editor for National Underwriter Publishing, a sister division to National Underwriter Life & Health, and was a well-regarded expert on tax matters. He maintained an impressive contact book of the top minds in the world of tax law from whom he solicited submitted articles to the publications he edited, such as the various print and online versions of Tax Facts. He had been involved in legal, financial and tax publishing for some 35 years, working with Prentice-Hall, the American Institute of CPAs, Aspen Publishers and LexisNexis. But it had been a goal of his to work for National Underwriter, and so he did in 2010, quickly establishing himself as the go-to experts on all things tax-related, specializing as someone who could understand tax issues holistically and then distill them into something more easily understood.
When Richard died suddenly of a massive heart attack on Sunday, February 10, it left many of those same contacts in a state of shock. His colleagues here in the office were especially hard hit. They uniformly described him as a quiet, friendly fellow who showed up for work early, enjoyed working with others, and who never seemed to have a bad thing to say about anybody. He was an editor who worked with outside submissions from authors he did not see face to face; he could have said anything about the work he edited, as editors so often do. But not Richard. In the world of publishing, that is the mark of a kind heart indeed, and of one dedicated to bringing out the best in others.