It was entirely apt that the final correspondence which Michael Travis provided to The Canberra Times some seven years ago arrived in the form of a correction and a clarification.
Because (and he would simply detest that this sentence started with a conjunction) for Mr Travis - or Travis, as he was simply known in the newsroom, as one would rightly defer as if to an oracle or sage - ensuring language accuracy and clarity were the absolutes to which he devoted his working life.
"The Dancing Shiva [a bronze antiquity once held by the National Gallery, then returned] is not infamous, as you reported. It is entirely innocent," Mr Travis wrote in his notably succinct letter to the editor dated September 2014.
"The disgraced New York dealer from whom the National Gallery bought it could be called infamous, which means abominable, notorious for badness."
And so we stood corrected, yet again, by Mr Travis and are all the better informed for it.
As so many of us, as journalists, were - quite vocally, heard right across the broad newsroom floor - over a grammatical misdemeanour, a mixed metaphor, or a poorly constructed sentence.
Michael Warren Kennedy Travis, The Canberra Times' former chief sub-editor and for decades the never-questioned custodian of the newspaper's style, grammar and language, died last month, aged 94. He is survived by Barbara, his wife of 61 years.
He and Barbara had five children: James (dec), Jennifer, Susan, Catherine and Andrew.
Befitting one of this newspaper's longest-serving and most respected staff members, Mr Travis is well and fondly remembered by his colleagues including Max Prisk, an accomplished, skilful journalist and former Sydney Morning Herald editor who worked alongside him on The Canberra Times' now-defunct sub-editorial table.
At the old Mort St offices of The Canberra Times, journalists worked cheek by jowl, tapping away on their typewriters, the room awash with clamour, cigarette smoke and activity.
The chief sub-editor always started in the afternoons and worked late in the evening or early mornings, putting the newspaper "to bed" each night and making the last, critical story cuts and/or updates.
"There are lots of people you remember in a long career in journalism, but very few you rate as memorable. Michael Travis was one," Max Prisk wrote.
"He was the epitome of the old-style final arbiter chief sub[-editor].
"Sometimes acid, sometimes delighted, he was never one for the quiet aside. His barks 'Smith cadet!' or 'Jones cadet!' across the newsroom struck dread into the unfortunate who had to trek to him red-faced for a dressing down over poor spelling or a grammatical transgression.
"No longer PC, yes, but the lesson was never forgotten.
"But if a story from a beginner impressed him he was always quick to praise. He was a great supporter of anyone he thought had talent and would push for their promotion.
"I recall one of his oft-used aphorisms to juniors: 'Always write as if you are a poor man sending a telegram to a fool.' (With telegrams, the Twitter forerunner, you paid by the word.)
"Mannerisms often help preserve people in memory. A tallish, rangy man - a golfer's body, I used to think sitting on the subs' table, knowing that was his out-of-work passion.
"He was one of the last of the newsroom pipe-smokers that I can remember, and once something caught his fancy, a great belly laugh [would ensue]."
Born and raised in Melbourne, Michael Travis became a cadet journalist on The Melbourne Age, a role to which many hundreds at that time would aspire and apply, yet very few were chosen.
Curiously, he then embarked a grand business venture of starting a coffee plantation in Papua New Guinea with his best friend from university. The venture failed, as did his first marriage there, so he returned to Australia and naturally gravitated back to newspapers.
He was working at the Moree Champion, becoming increasingly annoyed that the editor cared more for the form guide than the news, when he learned that The Canberra Times was on the hunt for good sub-editors.
He joined the paper in January 1966 - and stayed for 41 years.
Former editor Jack Waterford, whose often lengthy sentences had to be judiciously trimmed on many occasions by Mr Travis, described the former chief sub-editor as "carrying the standard" for the newspaper over decades and was the master of the Oxford comma.
"People thought he was ultra-pedantic about language but that's actually not the case," Mr Waterford said.
"As a highly intelligent and well-read man, Michael [Travis] understood full well that language evolved over time."
Ian Mathews, another former editor, agreed with the Waterford observation.
"Michael would describe a dictionary as a reflection of the language, not a prescription," Mr Mathews said.
"He was a delightful man to work with, always approachable, and had a great sense of humour. Yes, he had a fearsome reputation and woe betide those who made the same mistake twice.
"But his end goal was always excellence. He believed that high standards and consistency produced a quality newspaper and quality journalists. And he was right."
At 61, he retired from full-time work in the newsroom but returned for a further 19 as a casual, still guiding, supporting and sometimes chastising.
Mr Travis's daughter Susan remembers her father poring over as many as four newspapers each day and even after his retirement from a casual sub-editing role in the newsroom at the grand age of 80, continuing to comb through the printed version of The Canberra Times each day, always with the red Parker pen close at hand.
And finally, a personal note provided to this writer from the late Michael Travis and which offers good advice to all aspiring journalists: "Always remember your ABC, lad: accuracy, brevity and clarity".