It’s always seemed odd to me that people complain about getting older. It sure beats the alternative.

Cliff Feldwick

Lately, however, many area residents have been dealing with said alternative with the passing of the owner or Riverside Computing, Rotarian and longtime contributor to The Business Monthly, Cliff Feldwick.

I edited Cliff’s column, the delightfully titled Pounding the Keyboard, for about 15 years, and always looked forward to his submissions. It always amused me that he could initially come off as edgy and had no qualms about colorfully expressing the frustrations of day-to-day life we all experience. But once you talked with him for a minute, you found a bright, warmhearted hometown lovin’ guy with a great smile.

But what made Cliff special to me was that as informative and entertaining as his columns were, he wasn’t primarily a writer. He was, as he would love to say, a tech-weenie (a mechanical engineer, in his case); and in fact a tech-weenie who understood that most of us are not tech-weenies. And he explained tech-weenie issues to we denizens in a most “info-taining” way.

There was that, plus the fact that he’d throw in his views about work, local, national and world issues while en route to his tagline, which made many of the people who are reading this salute also anticipate those ponderings.

Until Becky Mangus reminded me, I’d forgotten his presence at TBM preceded mine. “We inherited Cliff when we bought the paper from Carole Pickett,” said Mangus, our former TBM publisher. “As a local publication, it was important to have local voices contributing a variety of topics, including technology.”

Becky loved his tone, too.

“He had a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, making his column fun to read and he often swerved over the line to touch on the local scene, politics,” etc. “That wasn’t just the way he wrote, however,” she said. “That was Cliff in person. The Business Monthly would have holiday parties at our home and we could always count on Cliff to have a good time and contribute to the laughter.”

But it was Cathy Yost, TBM’s former general manager, who brought Cliff into the fold, as they were fellow Rotarians. He was “a dedicated member of the Rotary Club of Columbia Patuxent for almost 25 years,” she said. “He loved attending the weekly Friday morning meetings and staying afterward for the ‘meeting after the meeting’ for coffee and conversation.”

And he “rarely” missed a meeting, Yost said, “even during his long fight with cancer.

“In fact, with his typical good cheer and optimism, he attended his last Rotary meeting on Jan. 12, just a week before his passing,” she said. “He enthusiastically volunteered for service projects every week at the Howard County Food Bank, stuffing backpacks for children in need of support and working on environmental projects for the club.”

Cathy also noted a life highlight, which was traveling to Ethiopia about 10 years ago with Rotary International to administer polio vaccines.

Then there’s this from George Berkheimer, my longtime TBM colleague. Said he: “Cliff had a way of cutting through the industry hype to present the real consequences, dilemmas and issues for end users of technology.

“There was no shake-up or development that he couldn’t help the average man or woman on the street understand,” he said. “He possessed the rare talent of being able to comprehend excruciating technology complexities and still be a fun person at holiday parties.”

I can attest to his helpful side, too. Cliff once fixed my computer when we were on deadline for the paper and my nerves were not great (or even good). He had plans that evening and still got me squared away. I couldn’t thank him enough.

That was Cliff.

And about those taglines … I always looked forward to how he’d reference a point from that month’s column, sneaking in one last grin until the next month. Take, for instance, this sentence from the April 2018 issue:

Cliff Feldwick is the owner of Riverside Computing, which does PC troubleshooting, network setups and data retrieval for small businesses, when not recalling Maxwell Smart and his shoe phone.

Bright, caring and funny is a great way to go through life. Clifford Douglas Feldwick did it right.