Star Tribune suicide article was "crude and disgusting," says nephew of Carter McComb

Richard Carter McComb: the man whose suicide inspired the Star Tribune's yuk yuks
The nephew of a man whose suicide was mocked by the Star Tribune is speaking up about the questionable judgment of the local daily.

"Thank you for pointing out the horrible decision the Star Tribune made by making light of Carter's situation," writes Mike Healy, the nephew of Carter McComb. "Editorializing in that situation was crude and disgusting."

As City Pages pointed out on Wednesday, the Minneapolis daily chose to lede its article about McComb's suicide with a trite cliche about death and taxes. Hours later, the article was removed from the Internet and has since been replaced with a more conventionally written death notice.

Here is the complete letter from Healy:

My name is Mike Healy and for about 10 years Carter McComb was my uncle. He was married to my aunt from 1983 to 1988. I knew him from 1980 to 1991. He was a good uncle and special friend to me. His many loving and kind qualities will be overshadowed by the events that unfolded near the end of his life. His legal woes I cannot speak to. I simply did not know. His suicide was very difficult for me to hear about and saddens me deeply.

Thank you for pointing out the horrible decision the Star Tribune made by making light of Carter's situation. Editorializing in that situation was crude and disgusting.

Please feel free to forward this email to your superiors and co-workers. I am grateful.

Mike Healy
I contacted Healy to ask if he wanted me to share his letter with readers, and he agreed, offering a bit of background about himself:
Kevin, you may share the letter as you see fit.
I enjoy both the CP and the Star Trib. I prefer the printed copy as I am old-fashioned. However, I work most of the day on my PC so it is inevitable that I check for updates on the web.
I have not yet contacted the Star Trib. I am undecided if I will do so.
I was taught to do 2 things when I write: Write as if you were telling somebody and read what you have written before you submit it. Either of these would have helped to avoid the original story and the horrible mistake.

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Mr. McComb was as smart of a human as they ever made... His dedication to the care and well being of his fellow man motivated him to serve mankind for many years as an innovator and administrator at the U and Fairview... but only after he became an Entrepreneur did he truly shine.  The small and petty people that speak ill and whom are possibly responsible for his demise... COULD NEVER WALK A MILES IN HIS SHOES...GodSpeed Carter.  Your Haters will get theirs... 

Paul Montague
Paul Montague

R Carter McComb and I worked together at the U of M Hospital for several years. He was a highly intelligent and capable person. He knew that he had made some life mistakes and he bitterly regretted them. The Star Trib suicide article was a low form of journalism and I hope something has been learned here?  Paul Montague


Mr. Montague,I also worked with Carter at the University of Minnesota Hospital many, many years ago.  I believe that Carter was truly an amazing man and great leader.  I have moved out of the state, but try to keep up with the news in Minneapolis.  When I heard the news regarding Carter I attempted to contact him, but was unsuccessful.  I also was very sad to hear that he felt the need to take his life.  I feel that I have lost a good friend.

J. Brand

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