From The Plain Dealer

Nobody laughed harder at Joe Dirck than Joe Dirck. That humility was only one reason that it was easy for people to laugh with him.

Dirck, a former Plain Dealer columnist, died of an apparent heart attack Thursday at his Columbus home.

Dirck was 65.

Those who knew Dirck remember a man of great modesty, a sailor, scuba diver, story teller, musician, board and video game devotee and voracious reader.

But first and foremost, he was a newspaperman. For many years, he toiled at some of Ohio’s largest and most powerful newspapers, first in Dayton, then Columbus and Cleveland.

He was at The Plain Dealer for 11 years, leaving in early 2000.

Ellen Belcher, former editorial page editor at the Dayton Daily News, remembers Dirck from their days together at the now closed Dayton Journal Herald.

“He was an incredibly fine and tenacious reporter,” she said by phone today. “He helped put a lot of people in jail and left a really important legacy here (in the late 1970s). After he finished cleaning up the county, we have not had to put anybody in jail in a long time.”

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