THE NEWSDAY was thrown into shock and mourning by the death of one of its longest-serving employees, paginator Munir Hosein.
Hosein, who had worked with Newsday since June 8, 1998, had a heart attack on Friday and died in hospital on Monday. He was 55.
Yesterday a number of staff members praised his personality and his stellar work ethic.
Newsday Editor-in-Chief Judy Raymond said: "I didn't know Munir for very long, but as a person he was always very pleasant and welcoming. He always had a smile and a joke to offer. As a member of staff he was reliable and had a wealth of experience, as a real veteran in the business. This is a real loss to the paper and the media."
Daily editor Ken Chee Hing said he knew Hosein for the better part of 25 years, first meeting him at the Bomb newspaper. He described him as a consummate gentleman, a willing and dependable soul, very loyal to the company and very knowledgeable in his trade as a paginator.
"One of the real stalwarts of Newsday."
Chee Hing described his death as great shock and expressed condolences to his family.
"We lost a good soldier. He was a real good person."
'We all grew as family'
Anna Marie Hayban from the special publications unit, a Newsday employee for 25 years, said Hosein was very helpful and respectful.
"He was always willing to help or say, 'Let's go have a lime,' or cook something or bring something for the staff to eat or taste."
She recalled he like to cook duck and make chow, which was a favourite of the pagination department. Hayban also recalled one instance when she had an issue with her car and Hosein stayed with her until her husband arrived.
"Twenty years-plus we all grew as family."
Pagination supervisor, Shawn Moona said Hosein reminded him of his father as they both had similar qualities.
He recalled last speaking with Hosein last Tuesday as they spoke about a long-time plan for a fishing trip at the Caroni River.
"Munir started off in lithography, that is where I met him. We worked together of 19 years. Munir moved from lithography then scanning and then pagination. He was always punctual and a hard worker, he used to encourage me."
Paginator Andre Sandy recalled Hosein's generosity with his laughter. He laughingly recalled that Hosein, who he worked with for two decades would laugh at your jokes even when it was not funny. Hosein, he said, was empathetic and had a great sense of humour.
Fellow paginator Joanne Hayde smiled as she recalled how much Hosein loved his granddaughter and spoke about her often.
The last she spoke with him, she said, was in June while he was on vacation and came in work to drop off something with his wife.
"What I remember about him was no matter what time he came, he would always get a park and I had to ask him how." Hayde chuckled. She said he had a hearing problem and when other paginators shouted at him, Hosein would respond with a smile and say "Doh shout at meh nah."
'He made the best coffee'
Camille Moreno, Sunday editor, said Hosein always gave his best. She recalled a time when the department had to temporarily relocate from Chacon Street to the El Socorro branch and it was a cold, rainy and uncomfortable day. Hosein offered to make her a cup of coffee and it was "the best coffee.
"It was a simple gesture, but very meaningful. It told you a lot about him. He is a very thoughtful individual."
She also recalled him giving a lift to her and other colleagues after work.
She said he would have gone through the developments in technology for laying out a paper.
"I think sometimes we forget to record their histories. Because it's important for the information of what our industry has been and where it is now."
She said she will miss his stories, his good jokes and definitely his coffee.
Shirley Roban, general assistant and employee for 26 years, described Hosein as a "dear friend" and recalled he always had a smile on his face.
"Every day on his way to his department he would stop and give me a word of encouragement and say, 'How is your day?' Or, 'I like that smile.'
"I admired he was concerned about uplifting my spirit. He didn't know how much that meant to me."
Clint Chan Tack, senior reporter, said his earliest memories with Munir were in 2003 at Newsday's previous office on Chacon Street.
"He was always a very pleasant, honest, reliable person. You could always count on him to tell you exactly what he thought about something (regarding work) and suggest changes."
He said Hosein never complained about the volume of work and always had a very positive outlook about everything.
Chan Tack said during their last conversation Hosein told him he was really looking forward to retirement, spending time with family and doing more work as a chef, which he had been doing part-time.
"It is sad that he passed before he was able to do all those things he talked about."
He said the paper would be a lot poorer for Hosein's loss, not only because of his work ethic but the kind of spirit and aura he presented.
Sasha Hosein-Gulston, receptionist, said the last conversation she had with him was the fondest memory, because he was at his happiest. She recalled he had just come from vacation and talked about spending time with his family and his beloved hobby of crab-catching in Caroni.
"At least for that vacation he was able to spend time with the family and with his friends."
She recalled he liked to talk, laugh and give picong, and he was also Newsday's unofficial handyman.
"He was such a pleasant soul."
'He will be missed'
Marlene Augustine, reporter, said for the six years she knew him he was humble and she never saw him upset.
"He was always giving words of encouragement, and he would notice when you have a hard day."
She was aware of his heart condition and he would share his thoughts about the situation.
"It has taken a toll on me. And he will be missed. And I send my deepest condolences to his family and his friends. I hope you find comfort soon. He was a really nice person to know and it was a privilege knowing him."
Shannon Whyte, CSR, recalled Hosein complimenting her and her co-workers on their Emancipation dress.
"We would miss when he would bring sweets for Divali. He is the only person who would bring sweets in abundance and we could share with customers."
She said he was "so cool that he was just good with everyone."
Kafi Nicholas, cashier for eight years said she had never seen him vex or upset.
"He was nice. He was a nice guy."
Joan Rampersad, senior reporter, described him as one of the most genuine people she has known.
"(He) embraced life the way he wanted for the most part. This is so very sad."
Keino Swamber, news editor, said Hosein never made anything a problem
"If you say, 'Munir, I don't like how that page is built,' he'd say, 'All right man, we'll fix it, don't worry yourself.'"
He said their interactions had always been very pleasant and he never had an issue with Hosein.
"Munir was a just regular, down-to-earth man."
'Lived to the fullest until his time'
Cody La Caille, systems administrator, said he had known Hosein since 2007.
“And from then till now, he has always been nothing but a great friend and co-worker to me. At no point in time would he pass me straight, whether at work or on the road. He was always smiling and jolly, even after his first health scare. I’ve honestly never seen the guy other than happy. He once told me that he was going to live his life to the fullest until it was his time, and I can truly say he didn’t let anything hold him back.
“On my way to my office I see your desk every day and I can’t believe that I won’t see you there when I pass any more, or when we work late on weekends. It’s unfortunate that you left us so soon. You are already missed by us.”
Hosein is survived by his wife, five children and four grandchildren.