Friends say Alan Finder was a top notch journalist with a calming presence in the newsroom, but for Jason Finder, his father was a humble man who was always there for his family and friends.

“He was a very simple person.  He gave a lot of himself to everybody around him and never wanted much in return,” said Jason Finder, Alan's son.

For Finder, his father's death was very sudden. The 72-year-old died Tuesday after contracting coronavirus a few weeks ago.  

“It certainly comes as a surprise and shock and it puts a highly personal kind of the points on an otherwise global issue,” said Finder.

Finder was born and raised in New York. Family and friends say he loved music, cooking and books, but his passion was journalism.

He worked at the Bergen Record and Newsday before joining the Times where he spent 28 years as a reporter and editor and continued to work even after retirement.  He would sometimes appear as a fill-in host on the New York Times Close-up show on NY1.

In an email to staff, The Times’ executive editor, Dean Baquet, wrote that Finder “was one of Metro's stars in the 1980s and 1990s, a big writer in a big, hugely competitive era for New York City news."

"There was never a room that he walked into where people weren't happy to see him. There was never a story he touched as an editor that people didn't feel got made better because of his input and as a presence he was just a special magnificent human being," said Martin Gottlieb, a journalist and friend.

For his friends and family, saying goodbye has been tough.

“I regret whatever pain he had because of this terrible virus. I know the hardship it is for his family and it tears my heart,” said Gottlieb.

Adding to the pain is the fact that they can't mourn together in person, but they are doing it on a private website while the family tries to figure out funeral plans.