It's too bad his name's not Eddie. "Steady Roger" doesn't have quite the same ring.

Yet that's what Roger Pusey has been at the Deseret News for more than 38 years. He shows up. He does the work. He holds down the fort.He averages one sick day every two years.

Now he's retiring.

In an era of dot-to-dot journalism, Pusey is a throwback to an era when hard-bitten newshacks would growl "Get me re-write!" into the phone and pen sports headlines that read "Kid bids adieu."

It's an attitude that has spilled into the other parts of his life as well.

As a member of the U.S. Army Reserve for 21 years, Pusey missed only two drills. (He retired as a major).

As an umpire and referee for Salt Lake County for 22 years, he's never missed a game, never shown up late (he's in the Utah branch of the Slow Pitch Softball Hall of Fame).

As a blood donor, he's given 130 pints - enough to fill the gas tank of a Chevrolet.

For his retirement - official today - the company gave him money for a set of golf clubs. They couldn't find a watch that would be half as dependable as the man.

"I think my parents had a lot to do with my stick-to-it attitude," Pusey explains. "Between sixth grade and the end of high school, for instance, I didn't miss a day of school."

In short, Roger Pusey is a regular guy with a well-regulated life.

"He's the model of consistency," says city editor Rick Hall. "And the polar opposite of a prima donna. A good, hard-working newsman."

Born in Salt Lake City in 1936, Pusey graduated from South High in 1954 and the University of Utah in 1959. Young Roger's degree in journalism fit with family tradition. His father was a newsman for the Associated Press and several uncles were newshounds, including one who won a Pulitzer Prize while working for the Washington Post.

Pusey worked his way up the beats the old-fashioned way: first as an obituary writer, then a night police reporter and finally taking over the criminal beat. He spent 11 years there, the next 15 covering the State Capitol and the last 10 on the business desk as he and wife Sondra tried to keep things stable and steady while raising their kids, Kerry, Wendy and Mindy.

If that makes him sound like a stick-in-the-mud, however, be careful. Pusey's never been a pushover. Just as he likes order in his own life, he likes it other places as well. And as an umpire and referee, he's often been in a position to enforce it.

In fact, the "Pusey folklore" that will live on after him may have more to do with his night job than his day job. The man's quest for truth and justice on the courts - and in the courts - of Salt Lake City is a big part of his legacy.

Take for instance the time he decided he'd had all he could stand and could stand no more.

"I'd just finished reffing a basketball game, was leaning on the scorer's table when this guy took a basketball, threw it, and hit me on the side of the head," Pusey recalls. "It knocked my glasses off. And it surprised me. I thought the game had gone pretty well. There hadn't been any words or anything.

"Well, over the years I'd been spit on, I'd been pushed around. So that was it. I decided to press assault charges against this guy. And I got a conviction. He was fined $400. Today I'm the resident adviser for such cases. And we've gotten other convictions. I mean the incidents happen in front of so many stinking witnesses they really don't have a prayer."

But on the job, Pusey the crusader had preferred a "Clark Kent" image. He's gone about things in an understated way. But then the people who've crossed his professional path have seldom been the type to fling a basketball at him.

"I've enjoyed meeting governors, congressmen, business leaders," he says. "One of the most colorful people I ever had to deal with was federal judge Willis Ritter. He threw me out of court one time. I never did find out why. I still don't know why."

And along the way "The Puse" has also been an eyewitness to the evolution of modern journalism.

"Technology has changed things a great deal," he says. "But more than that, I've noticed how many stories now are being run as news stories where the writers are really editorializing. They're news analysis pieces. When it comes to news, I think reporters should leave themselves out of it."

And just how would this retiring scribe and grandfather of four like to be remembered?

He thinks that one over for a moment.

"Well, I hope that the people I've written about feel I've been fair," he says. "I hope they remember me as someone who got the facts and presented them fairly; that I was a relatively decent, hard-working in-di-vid-ual who got involved with the stories. I hope they'd say, `We had a good relationship with him. He was a fine person and a good newsman.' "

And that's likely just what they'd tell him.

If they could catch him.

Roger Pusey plans to have the most active golden years in history. He'll hit the ground running - literally. In October he's off to the Senior Games in St. George, for instance, where his Over-60 softball team plans to cart off a title. And after that, well, there's the umpiring, golfing, days with the grandchildren, dinners out, vacations east, vacations west.

Pusey won't have much time to reflect.

So he offers to do a little of that now.

"Journalism's not an occupation where you're going to get rich," he muses. "But it's a very satisfying occupation where you get a chance to do different things, meet different people and go places you wouldn't ordinarily go."

For Roger Pusey, retirement is looking much the same as the past 40 years.

In other words, it's going to be "steady as she goes."