As a child that grew up in the Chicago area, I grew up watching "At The Movies" with Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel on WGN. At my young age, I didn't realize that other cities didn't have movie reviewers on TV. All I did know is we had the best.
As my love for film grew, I would watch Siskel and Ebert to see if my opinion matched theirs. They became virtual friends before the Internet. As they would have discussions about movies (or even more entertaining, arguments), I would feel like I was discussing it with them without being in the same room. This was what made them different. Roger and Gene made the audience feel like they were sitting with them after the film with the taste of popcorn still lingering on their tongue. I would listen to their critique and re-watch the films to see if I could see the same problems they found. They shaped the way I watch films.
With Roger's passing, we have lost one of the best voices of our time. I can't help but feel I also lost a friend. Rest in Peace, Roger. I'll always save the aisle seat for you.