ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - Tampa Bay Times outdoor reporter Terry Tomalin knew the Florida's landscapes better than almost anyone. Hey was also a friend to almost everyone.
Tomalin died Thursday of a sudden heart attack. He was just 55-years-old.
Friday, many in the Bay Area media, and across the state, took time to remember his wild adventures and kindness.
"If you just encountered him, he would start talking to you and it was like you knew him forever," said Mike Stephenson, the deputy sports editor for the Tampa Bay Times. "He has covered almost every inch of the state. He was the authority throughout Florida on everything outdoor."
The Tampa Bay Times "Outdoors Editor" died of a heart attack Thursday as he and his son took a life guard test. Tomalin leaves behind two kids and his wife; who is the deputy mayor of St.Petersburg.
He also leaves behind his readers, colleagues and many friends.
"There would be times where Terry would call and say, 'hey, I want a cup of coffee, I want it at sunrise and I really want to go to Anclote Key.' That means we would paddle three miles off shore at 4 in the morning," said Darry Jackson.
At Bill Jackson's sporting goods store, co-president Darry Jackson remembered Tomalin for spotlighting the environment.
"He loved teaching people how to do things in the outdoors," he said.
He had fun with it, too, and he was a great story teller, to anyone who would listen.
"He is such a great person to talk and he is a story teller. He knows how to tell stories," said Jackson.
Tomalin was a great story teller because he lived those stories. That is because he lived them.
Tomalin's desk is full of mementos of his adventures. He would take readers to places they had never been before.
"They would read through Terry's stuff and say, 'man, I wish I could do that,' and get excited. They may not paddle 120 miles in 48 hours, but maybe they would go paddle five miles in a day and that would get them out. Terry wanted people to go out and do things," said Jackson.
Tomalin won't soon be forgotten. His legacy will continue.
"Terry is going to live on through his kids. He's taught them well and they grew up with their outdoors," said Jackson.