Sid Yudain got in one last party at his beloved National Press Club, as his family, friends and colleagues celebrated the late Roll Call founder’s life, achievements and love of a good party on Dec. 14.
“If Sid is looking down, he’s loving this,” said Patsy Grady Abrams, the mistress of ceremonies. “Sid loved nothing more than a celebration.”
Yudain, who died on Oct. 20, was a “platinum owl” at the Press Club, someone with 60-plus years as a member, according to his longtime friend John Cosgrove, a former club president. Yudain was also, appropriately for someone who loved a good time, the entertainment chairman. “Sid stalked the halls of this club like he stalked the halls of Congress,” said his wife, Lael Yudain.
His son, Ray Yudain, recalled that his father was so well-liked it bled into his own social life, saying that when he and his sister, Rachel, were teenagers, they pretty much did whatever they could to avoid their friends’ parents. Not so in the Yudain household. “A lot of them, I don’t think they even came over to see us,” Ray Yudain said of his and his sister’s friends.
Satirist and entertainer Mark Russell, who knew Yudain for more than 50 years and was a one-time columnist for Roll Call, got most of the best lines in his remarks. “He was a Republican who didn’t hate anyone,” Russell said, adding, “Perhaps the only journalist Richard Nixon liked. … We’re talking about a reporter who thought Capitol Hill was fun.”
Above all, each person referred to the person who loved to bring others together for a good time, an attribute well-suited for a newspaperman and a raconteur. “If paradise is a place where there’s nothing to complain about,” Russell said, timing his voice to trail off, to accentuate that Sid did indeed like to get in a good gripe here and there, before adding, “But life on Earth with Lael would be very hard to top.”
And after Russell had unfurled his last line and the 150 or so attendees rose to sing “Amazing Grace,” which Abrams said was one of the few hymns Yudain liked, it was on to the open bar. “That’s the only way he would have had it,” Lael Yudain said.