April 17, 2014

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Longtime letter writer dead of self-inflicted gunshot

LORAIN — Glenn Walter Tiler, a longtime Chronicle-Telegram letter-to-the-editor writer, was a private person, but he liked to make his opinions public.

“I don’t want to get into an argument with someone or have somebody come up to me in a restaurant,” Tiler said in a 1999 Chronicle profile. “I do my arguing on paper.”

The 83-year-old Tiler was found Monday fatally shot in his home in the 500 block of West 18th Street, police said. A suicide note was found, and Tiler’s death has been ruled a suicide, according to Dr. Stephen Evans, Lorain County coroner.

Neighbor Joseph Weatherspoon, who lived across the street from Tiler and had been doing chores for him since about 1998, said Wednesday that Tiler had been ill recently. Weatherspoon, who said he knew Tiler casually, described him as a nice guy who was private and patriotic. Tiler flew an American flag outside his home each day.

Tiler grew up in Lorain and served in the Korean War, according to the profile. Tiler said he worked 60 jobs, including assembly line work for U.S. Steel, before retiring. He received a bachelor’s degree in education from Kent State University and for 17 years taught overseas for the Department of Defense Overseas Dependents Schools. He earned a master’s degree from the University of the Philippines along the way.

Tiler, who wrote under the name Glenn Walter, was old school. He relied on a typewriter rather than a computer.

Tiler hand-wrote first drafts of letters in the morning and typed the second and third drafts. Besides letters to the editor, Tiler occasionally wrote Chronicle Editor Andy Young to critique Young’s columns and give news tips. Tiler also occasionally wrote reporters, including a recent missive that accused Lorain’s Nuisance Inspection Task Force of over-aggressive enforcement.

“I like the creative part of writing,” Tiler said in the profile. “I enjoy writing the letter and getting my thoughts across.”

Tiler was a passionate defender of New Deal liberalism and President Barack Obama. He praised ObamaCare in his last letter to the editor published July 16.

“Nobody in this great country should be denied medical care for financial reasons,” Tiler wrote.

Tiler, who wrote letters to The Chronicle for decades, regularly blasted conservative pundits.

“During the Middle Ages, a group of men called alchemists tried to transmute base metals into gold,” Tiler wrote in a June 2 letter. “Today, the hard-right, neo-fascist wing of the Republican Party is trying to make political gold out of the Benghazi affair. People like the despicable Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck are the alchemists of today.”

Tiler also often skewered right-wing letter writers, quoting from Corinthians in a July 2 letter.

“‘When I was a child, I understood as a child,’ it says,” Tiler wrote. “The problem is that too many people (some write regularly to this newspaper) still think and understand as a child.”

Tiler was often a target of conservative letter writers, including frequent sparring partners Thomas Higgason and Jim Uszynski. Both said Wednesday that while they vehemently disagreed with Tiler, his letters inspired readers to write.

“He p—ed me off, but I read every one of them,” said Uszynski, a letter writer since about 1985. “He made them think about the issues whether they agreed or disagreed.”

Higgason said he admired that Tiler, unlike some writers, wrote about a variety of issues.

“I always opened up the page to see it and, to tell you the truth, it always aggravated me,” Higgason said.

Higgason, a letter writer since 1994, said ego is one of the things that regular letter-to-the-editor writers of all political stripes share.

“Some people go through their whole lives, and no one ever knows they were alive,” he said. “Part of the letter-to-the-editor thing is to have somebody know that you’re there.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.

  • Rebecca Montgomery-Deaton

    That is sad. I have read many of his letters.

  • Traci Purdum

    Nice tribute. . . I’m sure he’d be pleased he made people think one last time.

  • Juice Kovacs

    Whoa, well written article. I’m 30 yrs old and always sided with Glenn Walter. The world is a little worse today.

  • ken m

    I ve read his articles for years.was always very good and made you think….I m sure he did what he did because he didn t want to suffer, may he rest in peace…

    • Mark B

      I guess ObamaCare wasent working out so well for him .

      • Bob Owens

        grow up.

  • Sue Lawson

    My prayers are for his family!

    • Denise Caruloff

      Sue..i don’t know that he had any family..?

  • KZ14

    Wow way far to the left

  • Denise Caruloff

    this is so sad…cant imagine what his final moments could have been like…a lifetime to end in that way…well..i suppose he knew best and was going to be the one who controlled his destiny. Peace be with you Mr. Glen…peace.

  • Zen Grouch

    Sounds like he lived and died on his own terms…