Seven Days,Peter Freyne never missed a deadline in the 13 years he worked for Seven Days. He delivered his political column, “Inside Track,” every Tuesday by 4 p.m. and was never subtle about it. Shortly after emailing his article, Freyne would show up at the office to answer questions, argue, check last-minute facts and, depending on his mood, terrorize our staff. His column was the last thing we squeezed into the paper before sending it to press. So it’s ironic – not to mention premature and terribly sad – that Peter Freyne left this Earth early on a Wednesday. After battling cancer, seizures and a strep infection that spread to his brain, he died peacefully at Fletcher Allen Health Care at 12:26 a.m. today – six hours after our weekly deadline.Did he have a hand in the timing of his final departure, knowing the news would break just after the paper went to bed? We wouldn’t put it past him to go out with a poke. Freyne, 59, came out of the bar-stool school of journalism, along with his hero, Chicago newspapermen Mike Royko. He never went to school to learn to be a political c olumnist, but brought his considerable and diverse life experiences to a fun and informative “Inside Track” that originated in the Vanguard Press, Burlington’s original alt weekly, in the late ’80s. Freyne was the rare reporter who could skewer a politician in print and have a drink with him two days later. Many of his “victims” became his sources – and in some cases, friends. Freyne gave up drinking and smoking. And Vermont journalism has been a lot less lively since he retired last June. Here’s a video that Eva Sollberger made of Freyne right after that, when Seven Days readers once again named him the state’s “Best Print Journalist” in our annual Daysies survey. His passing marks the end of an era. He may have planned that, too. – Seven Days Co-editor Pamela Polston.Peter Freyne and former Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle at the corner of Church and College in 2004. Photo by Robert Smith.POSTED BY SEVEN DAYS ON JANUARY 07, 2009 AT 07:11 AMhttp://7d.blogs.com/blurt/2009/01/draft-peter-freyne-19492009.html(link is external)[embedded video: http://blip.tv/file/1151166(link is external) ]For a selection of Peter’s VBM articles, click here.