Dorothy Baliles Shank, August 12, 1923 - June 5, 2018

Dorothy Baliles Shank, 94 of Roanoke, Va., passed away peacefully at home after a brief illness on Tuesday, June 5, 2018.
She was very proud to be the Valedictorian of the last class of Blue Ridge Mission School in 1941 in Woolwine and enjoyed school reunions for many years. After graduation Dorothy moved to Washington, D.C., and worked for The National Geographic Society and The Washington Star newspaper. She returned to Stuart in 1948.

Full article: Shank

Star Staff Writer David G. Braaten, July 25, 1925 – June 3, 2018

Star Staff Writer David Braaten died June 3, 2018 of complications from a blood infection. He was 92. He worked at the Star from 1962 til he took a buyout in 1978. The pics are from the front page mockup his friends made him upon his early retirement. A copy of the whole front page hangs outside the men's room at Mr. Henry's, Dave's favorite restaurant for extended lunches.

Walt Swanston-NuevaEspana, Diversity Champion, Dies

Walterene Swanston-NuevaEspana, a decades-long champion of diversity in the news media as a former print and broadcast journalist and journalism association executive, died Friday at a Fairfax County, Va., hospital in the Washington, D.C., suburbs. She was 74 and suffered a massive heart attack a week ago, said friend and fellow journalist Wanda Lloyd.

“Walt was one of the sweetest, most gentle souls, and someone who was dedicated to the success of every organization for which she worked, every project she led and every young journalist who needed her help,” messaged Lloyd.

“Over the years I traveled with Walt around the country and across the ocean, attending conferences for NABJ, AAJA, NAHJ and to many other meetings where we shared our passion for journalism. Now she is gone and journalism has lost one of its most dedicated professionals.”

The references are to the National Association of Black Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

She had worked with all of them, as well as with Unity: Journalists for Diversity, the collaboration that consists of AAJA, the Native American Journalists Association and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association. She was Unity’s interim executive director from 2012 to 2014, having previously been executive director of Unity: Journalists of Color, which included AAJA, NABJ, NAHJ and NAJA, and spearheaded the Unity ‘94 and Unity ‘99 conventions. She had also been director of diversity management at NPR, a consultant for the American Society of News Editors and from 1993 to 1995, executive director of NABJ.

In addition, she worked for the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation, directing the organization’s diversity, educational and international programs; for the Newspaper Association of America Foundation, where she directed diversity programs; and for Knight-Ridder Inc., where she was a consultant.

NPR host Michel Martin remembers Swanston’s time at that network. “From the minute I set foot in the door at NPR, Walt was a source of friendship and wise counsel,” Martin said by email. “And I don’t think I’ve ever met a person with a more diverse network of friends, colleagues, and mentees. Diversity was something she did, it was what she was, a way of life. She was a walking, talking example of how it can and should be done.”

Keith Woods, who succeeded her as diversity executive at NPR, said by email Saturday, “Walt was one of the most resilient, persistent, and, above all, empathetic people I’ve known. She believed deeply in the work of diversity, and so many of us who have done this work found themselves at one time or another following in her path. Walt was a true champion, and journalism is particularly poorer with her passing.

“I knew Walt for more than 20 years. She had a rough time at NPR and struggled to make progress in the newsroom. Still, she strongly encouraged me to follow in her footsteps and offered herself as a coach because, above all, the work she did was out of love and passion. No organization or obstacle ever beat her. I’m heartbroken to have lost her.”

NuevaEspana was known mostly to fellow journalists as Walt Swanston before she remarried in 2015, after the 2006 death of her first husband, public relations executive David Swanston.

She was hospitalized on Jan. 12 and died in the early hours of Jan. 19, according to her daughter, Rachel Swanston Breegle.

The former Walterene Jackson was born in Clinton, La., and attended segregated schools there before she, her sister Bettye Jackson and brothers Raphael “Ray” Jackson and Ruffin Lane “Buzz” Jackson were put on trains for Oakland, Calif., where they lived with an aunt and uncle so they could attend integrated schools.

When presented with the Ida B. Wells Award from NABJ in 2011, she thanked her parents for enabling her and her siblings to leave Louisiana. “None of the children ever went home to live there again,” she told the NABJ audience. Still, she regretted that the move broke up her family,

At her alma mater, San Francisco State University, she met David Swanston, and as a young journalist, worked at the San Francisco Examiner and the old Washington Star. Later she was a copy editor and contributor to the Washington Post’s Style, weeklies and real estate sections; a reporter and producer at Washington public television station WETA and executive editor at WUSA-TV, the Gannett-owned CBS affiliate.

Attribution: Richard Prince -
Full story: Diversity Champion

Sports Writer Charles "Charlie" J. Rayman 1933—2018

Charles "Charlie" J. Rayman, 84, of Rockford passed away Saturday, January 13, 2018, at Presence St. Anne Center. Born April 16, 1933,  Charlie attended the University of Maryland, where he earned his bachelor's degree in Journalism. He was a sports reporter, starting his career for the Baltimore Sun and writing later for the Rockford Register Star, retiring in 1998.

Rayman covered the Orioles for the Baltimore Sun before behind hired as the baseball writer at the Washington Star shortly before the Star folded. That's when he was hired by the Register Star. Rayman's main sports beats over the years at the Register Star included Rock Valley College, bowling and softball.

Charlie Rayman wasn't so much a sports writer at the Rockford Register Star as he was a sports "character."

"He was a real character both inside and outside the office," Randy Ruef, former longtime sports editor of the Register Star, said of Rayman.

He'd wear plaid shorts, knee-high black socks and sandals. You could always see him chewing on his pen, walking around carrying 10 pounds of newspapers with information for his fantasy baseball leagues. He was a fast talker. You add the look, the talk, the newspapers, the black socks, all those things combined  made him so unique.

Attribution: Matt Trowbridge
Full Story: Charlie Rayman

Dennis Lewis, July 27, 1939 - November 2, 2017

A former Washington journalist, union activist and a veteran, died peacefully November 2, 2017, of apparent heart failure at the Potomac Manor nursing home in Potomac Md. He was 78. Lewis, a native of Norristown, Pa., worked as a columnist at both the "Washington Star" and the "Washington Times" during the 1970s and 1980s, writing about local radio and television news and personalities. He later worked 15 years as a production editor at the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA), a newsletter publishing company now owned by Bloomberg Inc. and headquartered in Arlington, Va. While working as a radio-television columnist, Lewis frequently interviewed Howard Stern and Larry King, who were then working in Washington in the early stages of their careers. While at the "Washington Star" and BNA, Lewis was an activist with the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild (WBNG), the union which represented employees at both companies. He was a co-chairman of the BNA unit for a number of years, served on the WBNG Executive Council, and participated in several Newspaper Guild national conventions. Lewis was a member of St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill, and an active participant with the St. Mark's Players theater group, performing in various roles and writing program articles. Lewis, whose original name was Richard Dennis Kennedy, changed his name as an adult after researching his family history. A few years after graduating from Norristown High School in 1957, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and received journalism training at the Defense Information School (DINFOS) at Fort Slocum in New York State. He served at a post in Saudi Arabia during part of his enlistment. As a teenager Dennis become very interested in politics and was an avid member of the "Young Democrats of America." This led him to a lifelong passion and involvement with the party and the issues of the day. Lewis was born July 27, 1939.

Full article Dennis Lewis

John Whiteside, Commercial Flight Instructor, Newspaper Distributor

John Whiteside, 77, a commercial flight instructor in the late 1960s and 1970s with the American Flyers Airline Corp., died Sept. 28 at a hospital in Fairfax, Va. The cause was complications from sick sinus syndrome, a heart rhythm disorder, said a brother, Phil Whiteside.
Mr. Whiteside was born in Miami Beach and moved to the Washington area in 1958. He worked for the Washington Star and later The Washington Post as a newspaper distributor until he retired in 2005.

Attribution> staff report

James O.E. Norell - April 12, 1943 - September 25, 2017

NRA has lost one of its greatest communicators with the sudden passing of James O. E. Norell. Norell passed while vacationing in Chincoteague, Va., on Sept. 25, 2017. He was 74 years old.
For more than four decades, Norell crafted many of the compelling arguments on behalf of NRA leadership that motivated millions of NRA members to continue their staunch defense of their constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms—often successfully reaching out to and converting those who held opposing beliefs about gun ownership. As the first Director of Communications for NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, Norell was once considered the voice in Washington when it came to public dissemination of NRA’s message.
Prior to his tenure at NRA-ILA, Norell worked as a journalist for various newspapers, including the Washington Star, before becoming press secretary to Idaho Senator James McClure. After his NRA-ILA service, Norell went on to work at Legal Services Corporation. Norell was an avid hunter, gun collector and fisherman. He was an NRA Benefactor member, and was a member of NRA's Public Affairs Committee. Norell also has many award-winning screenwriting and filmography credits to his name. He appeared regularly on American Rifleman TV as a subject matter expert on certain firearms.

Full article: NRA's Voice for Freedom

Kirk Oberfeld, Editorial Writer - July 28, 2017

Kirk Oberfeld, 72, a former reporter, editor and editorial writer with the old Washington Star and the Washington Times, died July 28 at a hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich. The cause was multiple organ failure and liver disease, said a brother, Keith Oberfeld.


Mr. Oberfeld was born in East Orange, N.J. A former reporter at the Philadelphia Bulletin, he worked for the Star from 1979 to 1982. He then went to the Times and was managing editor of the newspaper’s Insight magazine from 1985 to 1995. Later he was marketing director for ProFunds, an investment organization, and editor in chief of Philanthropy magazine. In 2007, he moved to New York City from Bethesda, Md., and was director of Business Executives for National Security, a nonprofit organization. He moved to Grand Rapids about five years ago.

Edward Kirk Oberfeld of Grand Rapids, Michigan, aged 72 years, passed away on July 28, 2017, after a brief illness. Kirk was born in East Orange, New Jersey, to Edward and Charlene Oberfeld, and grew up in New Jersey, Michigan and Ohio. Kirk graduated from Kalamazoo College with a B.A. in Political Science, and after additional post graduate work in Germany, took his M.A. in Journalism from Ohio State University.

Kirk lived most of his adult life on the East Coast, in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Annapolis, Bethesda, Washington DC, and New York, but made frequent trips home to visit his parents in Grand Rapids, for famous holiday meals including his favorite oyster dressing. Kirk, as a conservative, and his brother and parents as liberals, engaged in many spirited discussions over the holidays. Kirk and Pam met and married in Washington D.C., and enjoyed living in there for many years.

Kirk's first love was journalism. He began his career in Columbus, Ohio, for UPI, and later went to work as an editorial writer for the Battle Creek Enquirer. He reported and editorialized for the Philadelphia Bulletin for many years, and sold and collected artworks in Baltimore for a time. He moved to Washington D.C. to work for the Washington Star and went on to create the first new weekly news magazine to be published in fifty years. That magazine, "Insight on the News", became one of the first strong conservative voices in Washington. Kirk later worked in fundraising for two large National Security non-profits. Kirk made frequent appearances on the Financial News Network, CNN, CNBC and C-Span as an expert political commentator. Kirk's passion was collecting period glass, furniture and art, primarily from the Art Nouveau period.


Jack Monroe Kneece, Jr., 80, March 2, 1937 - July 10, 2017

Jack M. Kneece was a longtime author and newspaperman whose news reporting career started with United Press International in Atlanta, Georgia. A seasoned journalist with an impressive list of credentials, Kneece worked with publications across the world, with his work having appeared domestically in California, Alaska, Washington, D.C., Louisiana, and Virginia newspapers. He was a congressional reporter with the Washington Star, a national editor for the Washington Times, and in the Washington bureau of the Associated Press on Capitol Hill. For his work with the Oakland Tribune in California, he was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the Alameda Newspaper Group.

In the 1960s, Kneece sold his first major story to Playboy Magazine and was the first reporter to land an interview with Bobby Baker during the Baker/Lyndon B. Johnson scandal of 1967. Kneece also worked internationally to establish Singapore's afternoon newspaper and served as a correspondent in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Kneece graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in English and a minor in journalism. He is the author of Family Treason: The Walker Spy Case, which has sold more than twenty-eight thousand copies. He writes for Go magazine of Charlotte, North Carolina, a Triple-A publication. In 2005, at the request of his alma mater, Kneece began teaching journalism as an adjunct professor.


Roger Wilkins, Champion of Civil Rights, Dies at 85

Roger Wilkins, who championed civil rights for black Americans for five decades as an official in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, a foundation executive, a journalist, an author and a university professor, died on Sunday in Kensington, Md. He was 85.

His daughter Elizabeth confirmed his death, at a care facility. The cause was complications of dementia.

A black lawyer in the corridors of power, Mr. Wilkins was an assistant United States attorney general, ran domestic programs for the Ford Foundation, wrote editorials for The Washington Post and The New York Times, taught history at George Mason University for nearly 20 years and was close to leading lights of literature, music, politics, journalism and civil rights. Roy Wilkins, who led the N.A.A.C.P. from 1955 to 1977, was his uncle.

Roger Wilkins’s early mentor was Thurgood Marshall, the renowned civil rights lawyer who became the Supreme Court’s first black associate justice. And he organized Nelson Mandela’s triumphant eight-city visit to the United States in 1990 as millions turned out to see that living symbol of resistance to apartheid after his release from 27 years in prison in South Africa.

Beyond attending a segregated elementary school as a boy and being arrested once in a protest against apartheid, Mr. Wilkins had little personal experience with discrimination. He waged war against racism from above the barricades — with political influence, jawboning, court injunctions, philanthropic grants, legislative proposals, and commentaries on radio and television and in newspapers, magazines and books.

Outwardly, he was a successful, popular black man with more white acquaintances than black friends. The second of his three wives was white.

A lean, intense, soft-spoken intellectual, he grew up in a genteel middle-class family. The customs, attitudes and social currencies of everyday black life “evolved away from me,” he said in a memoir.

“I didn’t know how to talk, to banter, to move my body,” he said.

It mattered. As he rose to prominence, he came to regard himself as a token black in institutions and social circles that were overwhelmingly white and privileged. It troubled him deeply. In the memoir, “A Man’s Life: An Autobiography” (1982), he cited struggles with depression, suicidal thoughts and drinking problems, and acknowledged years of unease with his blackness, of trying to live up to the expectations of whites.

“Instead of standing with my nose pressed to the window, I often found myself inside rooms with people whose names were Mailer, Vidal, Javits, Kennedy or Bernstein,” he wrote. He was surrounded at work by middle-aged white men, while “my night world was virtually lily-white,” he added. “It was as if, by entering that world at night, I was betraying everything I told myself I stood for during the day.”

A University of Michigan Law School graduate, Mr. Wilkins went to Washington on a wave of New Frontier fervor in 1962 to join the Kennedy administration. He became special assistant to the head of the Agency for International Development. He was soon spotted as a savvy, if outspoken, Democratic asset, and joined campaigns for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson named him the administration’s chief troubleshooter on urban racial issues. He became an assistant attorney general, ostensibly to calm the unrest racking cities. He spoke dutifully against violence and met mayors and community leaders, but did not see his principal task as the suppression of disturbances.

“I am a firm believer in the view that the riots are not the real problem,” Mr. Wilkins said, calling for more jobs, housing and help for the poor. “The real threat to American life is our inattention to the really depressed and anguished conditions of the minority group people who live in the ghettos of this country.”

In 1966, he and a Justice Department colleague went to Chicago to see the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As he admitted later, Mr. Wilkins harbored suspicions that Dr. King might be an opportunist, Louis Menand wrote in The New Yorker in 2013. The visitors found Dr. King in an airless railroad flat in a slum, talking to 40 or 50 young gang members about nonviolence.

“For hours this went on,” Mr. Wilkins was quoted as saying. “There were no photographers there, no newsmen. There was no glory in it. He also kept two assistant attorneys general of the United States waiting for hours while he did this.”

It was 4 a.m. when Dr. King finished. He woke his wife, Coretta, and she made coffee. “We sat and we talked,” Mr. Wilkins said. “He was a great man, a great man.”

When Richard M. Nixon became president in early 1969, Mr. Wilkins detected a “turning away from the paths of cultural decency” and left government to join the Ford Foundation in New York. For three years, he oversaw funding for job training, education, drug rehabilitation and other programs. But he was powerless to support many projects he considered worthy and became disillusioned with the work.

In 1972 he began a new career in journalism, writing editorials for The Washington Post. He also began to put aside what he called his “desperate search for white approval.” His editorials on the Watergate scandal that drove Nixon from the presidency, along with reporting by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and cartoons by Herbert Block, helped The Post win the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1973.

Mr. Wilkins joined The Times editorial board in 1974 and later became an Op-Ed page columnist. In 1977, he and other minority journalists accused The Times in a federal lawsuit of racial discrimination in hiring and promotions; the case was settled for cash and pledges of improvements. He left the newspaper in 1979 and was an associate editor and columnist for The Washington Star in 1980 and 1981.

From 1979 to 1989 he was a member of the board that awarded journalism’s Pulitzer Prizes. He was also on an advisory panel that recommended Janet Cooke of The Washington Post for a feature-writing Pulitzer in 1981, for her article on an 8-year-old heroin addict. It was exposed as a fabrication after she won the prize. He said the episode had harmed “blacks in newsrooms all over the country.” Ms. Cooke, who returned the prize and resigned, is black.

From 1982 to 1992, Mr. Wilkins was a senior fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington think tank. From 1988 until his retirement in 2007, he was the Clarence J. Robinson professor in history and American culture at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. During his teaching years, he wrote for newspapers and magazines and was a frequent commentator on radio and television.

Roger Wilkins was born in Kansas City, Mo., on March 25, 1932, to Earl and Helen Jackson Wilkins. Some of his ancestors were slaves in Virginia. His father was a journalist and his mother was the first black national president of the Y.W.C.A.; she helped desegregate the organization in the 1960s. In Kansas City, Roger attended the all-black Crispus Attucks School, founded in 1893 and named for a slave killed by the British in the Boston Massacre of 1770.

After his father died in 1941, the boy and his mother joined relatives in Harlem, and three years later settled in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he graduated from high school. At the University of Michigan, he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1953 and a law degree in 1956. He tried social work in Cleveland briefly, practiced law in New York City for several years, then joined the Kennedy administration.

Mr. Wilkins had a home in Washington. His marriages to Eve Tyler and Mary Myers ended in divorce. His third wife, Patricia A. King, a law professor at Georgetown University, survives him.

Mr. Wilkins wrote “Jefferson’s Pillow: The Founding Fathers and the Dilemma of Black Patriotism” (2001). He produced and narrated two PBS documentaries, “Keeping the Faith” (1987) about black churches, and “Throwaway People” (1990), about a poor black neighborhood.

“In a sense,” Mr. Wilkins wrote in his memoir, “I have been an explorer, and I sailed as far out into the white world as a black man of my generation could sail.”

Attribution: Robert D. McFadden/

Jerry Lipson, reporter and Capitol Hill aide, dies at 81

Jerry Lipson, a former reporter who worked for a decade and a half as an aide to Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill, died Feb. 28 at a skilled nursing facility in Springfield, Va. He was 81.

The cause was complications from cancer, said his son, Jonathan C. Lipson.

Gerald Lipson was born in Chicago on Aug. 27, 1935. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Roosevelt University in Chicago in 1957 and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., in 1961.

In the 1960s, Mr. Lipson reported for publications including the Wilmington News Journal in Delaware, the old Washington Star and the old Chicago Daily News, where he covered the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the legal case of James Earl Ray, who assassinated civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.

In the early 1970s, Mr. Lipson embarked on a career on Capitol Hill. He was press secretary for Sen. Charles H. Percy (R-Ill.) and Rep. John B. Anderson (R-Ill.), according to his son, as well as for Rep. John J. Rhodes (R-Ariz.) during his tenure as House minority leader and for the House International Relations Committee under chairman Benjamin A. Gilman (R-N.Y.).

In the 1980s, Mr. Lipson returned to journalism, reporting for the New York Post and the Chicago Sun-Times. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, he was spokesman for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Mr. Lipson was a delegate to the 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit and campaign manager for Maryland state delegate Constance A. Morella (R) when she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986. His memberships included the Washington Press Club.

Attribution: Emily Langer, Washington Post

Kathleen "Kate" Sylvester, Award-Winning Journalist, August 9, `1950 - February 24, 2017

Died on Friday February 24, 2017 in Washington DC. She was born on November 26, 1949 in Syracuse, NY to Lt. J. Martin Nelson (KIA Korea August 9, 1950) and Virginia Doyle Nelson. She was raised by her mother and adoptive father, Lt. Col. Allan T. Sylvester, II in a military family all over the United States. She attended Georgetown University where she received a Bachelor degree in Foreign Service. She was an award winning journalist for 20 years, after which she began work in Public Policy, working at the Progressive Policy Institute, First Focus and the America's Promise Alliance and was the founder of the Social Policy Action Network (SPAN). She also founded the consulting firm Writewell. In addition to her work, she was an unflagging supporter of her Capitol Hill neighborhood and a devoted friend to many.


George Murmann, Star Lithographer, November 21, 1918 - February 11, 2017

George Henry Murrmann passed away Saturday (Feb. 11, 2017) at his home surrounded by his loving daughters. He left the building in grand style with his loved ones singing karaoke of his favorite tunes until the end.

George Henry Murrmann was born in Perrysville, Ind., on Nov. 21, 1918, in an original Sears catalog house on the family farm. His family had moved there to farm (built the Sears model house on their own) on "Murrmann" lane, as it was known. As the youngest of 12 children, his father, George J. proclaimed, "Now I've got my dozen!"

George graduated from Danville High School in 1937 as a decorated member of the swim team. He joined the Air Corps (later known as the Air Force) in 1942 for "four years, eight months and 22 days." While in the corps, he was an instructor responsible for instrument training on airplanes.

After his service, he moved to Minneapolis to attend trade school to become a lithographer. (Linotype was once the only way type was set through a detailed process operating a large machine requiring dexterity and mechanical expertise.) After graduating, he moved to Washington, D.C., to work for Gannett at the Washington Star newspaper.

Bob Greiser, Star Photographer - January 31, 2017

Bobby Grieser, well known in yachting circles as one of the elite photographers in the sport, passed away January 31 after a four month series of illnesses in San Diego, CA. He was 70 years.

Born in Washington, DC, and growing up around the Chesapeake Bay, Bobby took to the outdoor life. He was a photographer at the Washington Star in Washington, DC for 15 years before moving west to work for the Los Angeles Times, where he stayed for 18 years. Bobby covered such diverse topics as riots, war zones in Somalia and White House events over the years.

But in 1998, he left for the excitement of freelancing in the yachting, adventure, travel and leisure industries. His passion to explore and appreciate his surroundings fueled his motor. As a principle with, he helped to create a remarkable inventory of stock marine imagery.

He photographed some of the world’s most beautiful yachts, with his event log including several America’s Cups. He became good friends with Dennis Connor, did feature stories on sailing all over the world and later, some bareboat chartering as skipper. Bobby had salt water in his veins.


Sylvia Rector, 'tough editor' in Twin Cities who became beloved food critic in Detroit

Joe Kimball remembers it as a tense period in his career at the Star Tribune: The time when his paper squared off against the rival Pioneer Press with an aggression it had never shown before. Suddenly it wasn’t just the Minneapolis paper; it aspired to embrace the entire metro area.

A Star Tribune news bureau materialized in St. Paul, amply staffed and led by Sylvia Rector, a journalist who had been battle-tested in cities such as Dallas and Washington, where newspaper wars were the norm.

“We felt like troops landing on the beach,” said Kimball, now retired. “It was a landmark moment for the paper, and Sylvia was our field general.”

Rector, who joined the Detroit Free Press in 1992 and became well-known there as the newspaper’s food critic for 17 years, died of colon cancer on Dec. 20 at the age of 66.

Her husband, Charles Hill, a retired Associated Press bureau chief, described her as a “force of nature” as a journalist but also “a very sweet and kind person,” whose passing drew a torrent of appreciative memories from a culinary community that cherished her constructive approach in what can be a cutting line of work.

Rector grew up on a farm in Fancy Gap, Va., and attended a one-room schoolhouse. Scholarships paved her way to college.

She landed first at the Associated Press, then made a number of stops at different newspapers, including the Washington Star. She was state editor at the Dallas Times Herald, supervising reporters at the State Capitol, Austin and other big cities.

She arrived at the Star Tribune in 1984 as an assistant city editor. The move to St. Paul two years later to lead the newspaper’s new bureau there was a dramatic moment in the life of the family, Hill said. A top editor stopped by the house during her maternity leave to ask Rector to take it on, and “she came back early from that leave to do that job.” Editors asked the family to move to the east metro, he said, and they did.

She both applied pressure and felt it, Kimball said. Reporters dreaded the vision of a Pioneer Press laid out across Rector’s desk with “stories we missed, circled in bright orange. She was tough.” But he also remembered her occasionally retreating into her tiny office and shutting off the lights to gather herself.

“We later figured out she protected us [from impatient home-office criticism] more than we knew,” Kimball said.

Journalists who recalled Rector as a driven hard-news leader, demanding of herself and others, may have found it puzzling to see her fetch up as a food writer in Detroit. There was an explanation, her husband said: She was a mother seeking more family time. But she worked hard there and was a formidable presence in the field, said Brenna Houck, of the website Eater Detroit.

“She was definitely the scoop-maker most of the time, especially with big stories. She had made dining into her own space,” Houck said. “If I could ever beat out the Free Press, that was a fun day for me.”

Star Tribune Taste section editor Lee Dean said of Rector: “Food is a wonderful medium for storytelling, and Sylvia embraced it wholeheartedly, weaving tales of her childhood and more into reviews and reports from the kitchen, hers and others. ... Detroit readers were better fed because of her work.”

After Rector died, Houck described her online as “beloved.” In an interview, she said that Rector was never snarky or destructive, and plainly cared about leading readers to great food and bringing out the inner lives of the chefs who cooked it.

Attribution: David Peterson Star Tribune

John Sherwood, Columnist and Features Writer in Baltimore, Washington and Annapolis - December 7, 2016

John Sherwood, who for more than 50 years crafted profiles on an array of working-class characters and fringy eccentrics as a columnist and features writer in Baltimore, Washington and Annapolis, died Dec. 7. He was 84.

Sherwood spent almost 20 years at the former Washington Star newspaper capturing the lives and personalities of ordinary, captivating people in print — most of whom had no idea that they were anything but ordinary. With a Runyonesque flair he brought alive the likes of ferry-boat operators, tea room waitresses, pigeon racers, Linotype workers, tool-booth trolls, tug boat drivers, and hundreds more such ilk who likely never dreamed they were important enough to decorate the pages of a big city newspaper or a magazine — as well as individuals with delusions of grandeur. Better yet, he made the reader understand their importance, too.

Consider Vera — "who won't discuss her age," — the late owner of a Polynesian-style Tiki bar and restaurant on the Patuxent River in a Sherwood piece entitled "Empress of the White Sands."

"Vera upstages everything when she materializes nightly, as if in a vision…She has a vast wardrobe that changes with her moods… Sometimes a huge brass gong is sounded upon her arrival. One of the bartenders immediately pours a shallow glass of champagne as Vera glides inside and settles down on a vinyl, leopard skin bar stool across from a grand piano. When the piano player strikes up a Vera favorite, the outdated 'Sheik of Araby,' it's as though someone has waved a wand and commanded the evening to begin."

Sherwood's great gift was the ability to discern hidden, intriguing facets from the hoity-toity to the hoi-polloi. He could make them talk about themselves, often by asking innocently outrageous questions. Take Tony, an 81-year-old Italian bread baker in Baltimore's Little Italy, who spurned retail customers wanting to buy a loaf from the bake shop below his dingy row house apartment, which his father, "Poppy-pop," had started in 1914. Sherwood asked him about retirement.

"We sell 1,000 loaves a day, that's enough," Tony replied furiously. "We could bake and sell 5,000 loaves a day if I expanded, but what for? I don't wanna be a millionaire. I ain't married. I ain't got children. I want to stay here until I die. Poppy-pop liked it here. I like it here."

John Sherwood was born in Baltimore on Nov. 9, 1932, the son of a physician, and graduated in 1951 from Calvert Hall, a private Catholic prep school. He attended "numerous colleges," including the University of Maryland, before enlisting in the Army and serving a tour in Korea after the war had ended. In 1956 he married Elizabeth "Betty" Cronin, who died in 2000.

He began his writing career with The Baltimore Sun newspapers in 1960, then joined the Washington Evening Star in 1962 as a features reporter. Soon he was one of the writers of The Rambler, a popular daily column dedicated to profiling regional people and places. During his days at the Star he'd become a passionate sailor. When the Star folded in 1981, Sherwood migrated to work at the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, then moved on to the Miami Herald, but he deeply missed the Chesapeake Bay and the Annapolis area, where he had a home in Severna Park.

He returned to the region in the late 1980s, writing for a variety of sailing and boating magazines. Single-handing his sleek, classic Sparkman & Stevens-designed 22-foot Sailmaster sloop called Erewhon, he became as familiar a feature to people around Annapolis and the Eastern Shore as the great Bay Bridge itself. Up and down the bay and its many tributaries, people knew and always waved when silver-haired "Capt'n Jack" came gliding by with tiller in hand.

In the 1990s Sherwood began writing a regular monthly column, Bay Tripper for the boating magazine Soundings, which featured the wide variety of people who derived their living, sport and pleasure, from the Chesapeake and its environs, and continued writing it until earlier this year. He never missed a column deadline in all those years.

In 1994, Johns Hopkins University Press published Sherwood's well-received "Maryland's Vanishing Lives," illustrated with photographs by Edwin H. Remsberg, which chronicled the ways of life of Marylanders who, like Tony the baker, worked at tasks that were fast becoming antique. The book is a compendium of the many crafts, occupations and skills which are vanishing not only in Maryland but throughout the country — a testimonial to a disappearing world. It remains in print today.

Attribution: Winston Grooom, Capital Gazette
Full story: Forest Gump author remembers Severna Park sailor and journalist Jack Sherwood

HARRY BACAS 1922 - 2016

Harry Bacas, a longtime Arlington, VA resident and World War II veteran, who rose from copy boy to become a top editor of the Washington Star, died on Thursday, November 17, 2016 in Santa Rosa, CA after a brief hospitalization at age 94. An Arlington, VA resident for over 50 years, Harry had moved to California in 2007.
Born on November 11, 1922, in Washington DC, the son of a Greek immigrant, Harry graduated from Eastern High School and served in World War II as part of the 461st anti-aircraft battalion that stormed Omaha Beach during the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944. He fought in all five European campaigns and was awarded two Silver Stars.
On the GI bill, Harry received his BA in English from the University of Maryland, and studied English Literature at Stanford University. While teaching at Mills College in Oakland CA, he met his future wife, Eliza Goddard Weeks, a native Virginian. They returned to Washington, DC and were married in 1952. Eliza died in 2005.
Harry joined the Evening Star (later renamed the Washington Star) in 1951 as a copy boy and was soon promoted to reporter. As chairman of the Star unit of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, he led the first successful strike at the paper in 1958. He went on to serve as editor of the newspaper's Sunday Magazine, City Desk, and Portfolio sections. After the Star folded in 1981, he wrote for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Nation's Business magazine as a special assignment reporter until retiring in 1988. From the 1960's until the 1980's Harry was an avid auto-enthusiast, competing in road rallies and auto-crosses throughout the greater Washington DC area. His passion for bicycling led to numerous cycle tour vacations in the U.S, and Europe and he was a dedicated swimmer at the Washington-Lee Aquatics Center.

Obit: Harry

Edgar Henry Lichty Jr., 87, Composing Room Manager of The Washington Star,subsequently The Washington Times

Edgar Henry Lichty Jr., 87, of Huddleston, beloved husband, father and grandfather, died Friday, October 21, 2016 at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. He was born on Saturday, August 3, 1929 in Bethlehem, Pa., a son of the late Edgar Henry Lichty Sr. and Evelyn Mae Fehnel Lichty. Ed was a retired Composing Room Manager of The Washington Star,subsequently The Washington Times and was an active Masonic member.Ed was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where he started his printing career with his father. He married Evelyn Jean Blanchard on August 9, 1950, and was married to her for over 66 years. Soon after he was drafted to serve in the Korean War in the Army Corps of Engineers. Upon returning, he moved to the D.C. Metro area where he continued his printing career at the Government Printing Office. He would soon move to The Washington Star where he worked for 26 years. Ed helped start The Washington Times and worked there for 10 years before retiring to Smith Mountain Lake, where he played in the Kazim band for 22 years.He was a Master Mason at the District of Columbia, Grand Naval Lodge No. 4 attaining 32nd degree status, with memberships in Shriners International, Tall Cedars of Lebanon, Scottish Rite of Freemasonry and Almas Temple.

Attribution: The Roanoke Times

Lewis Liberty “Lou” Bennett, Washington Star 1955 to 1971 Route Manger & Mechanic

Lewis Liberty “Lou” Bennett, 85, of Charlotte Hall, MD passed away on October 12, 2016 at the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home.

Lou was born on July 4, 1931 to the late Frank and Olive M. Earnhardt Bennett in Norfolk, VA.

Lou’s professional endeavors expanded across careers providing public service and a great spirit of entrepreneurship. He served as a Master Mechanic 2nd Class on the U.S.S. Great Sitkin from January 1952 to April 1955 where he was deployed to the Mediterranean supporting mobile ready reserve fleet ammunition, and later in fleet maneuvers in the Atlantic (New York) and the Caribbean. His career included working at the Washington Star from 1955 to 1971 as a route manger and mechanic in Southern Prince George’s County, MD. He also worked for Buck Distributing, Upper Marlboro, MD, and as an Engineer for The State Department, Washington, D.C. where he retired at almost 71 years of age. The Southern Maryland community knew him as owner/operator of Williams Package Goods, Hughesville, MD; and several other small businesses over the years. Lou loved spending time with his family and many friends, especially on his 4th of July birthday. He also loved camping, riding his Harley, and tinkering with mechanical things. He was a member of the American Legion and Moose Lodge.

Attribution: Southern Maryland News Net

Shirley Elder Lyons, 85, reporter and Tip O’Neill biographer

Shirley Elder Lyons, 85, of Portsmouth, N.H., a former Washington political reporter, died on Sunday, September 18, 2016, of complications of Parkinson's disease.

Born in California, she was raised in Seattle. She graduated from Stanford University in 1954 and went to Washington, D.C., as a reporter, first for The Washington Post, later for the Washington Daily News and the Washington Star. She was co-author of two books: Tip, a Biography of Thomas P. O'Neill Jr., Speaker of the House and Interest Groups, Lobbying and Policymaking.

She moved to Sandwich, New Hampshire, in 1981 with her husband, Richard L. Lyons, but continued working part time as a reporter for the Boston Globe's New Hampshire Weekly.

In Sandwich, Shirley was president of the Friends of the Samuel Wentworth Library, a member of the Bearcamp Valley Garden Club, the New Hampshire Music Festival, Sandwich Historical Society, the Society for the protection of New Hampshire Forests and the Over the Hill hikers. She worked as a writer and co-editor on the book of Sandwich history published in 1995 by the Sandwich Historical Society.

When Shirley Elder Lyons received the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Print Media Award in 1993 for the second consecutive year, she had already spent four decades in a career that took her from California to covering Congress to the Granite State.

As a correspondent for the Globe’s New Hampshire Weekly, she examined campaign funding, interviewed politicians, and profiled top judges and lawyers – only to subsequently report on ethics woes some of them faced.

She also reported on the achievements of women who pushed for gender parity in New Hampshire’s elected offices and legal community. Mrs. Lyons’s profile of the first woman to serve as president of the state bar association was among the pieces that led to the award.

“My philosophy is we have a responsibility to educate people and to tell people in simple terms about complex legal issues,” she told the Globe in a January 1993 interview.


Richard Stakes, Former President/CEO, 1923-2016

Richard Stewart "Dick" Stakes, age 93, of Hilton Head Island, passed away September 11, 2016 at home surrounded by his family and caregivers. Born June 27, 1923 at the family home in Luttrellville, Virginia to the late Nettie Lee Reynolds and the late Thomas Edward Stakes. Dick served in the U. S. Army during WWII winning the Bronze Star Medal as an artillery forward observer. He graduated from Benjamin Franklin University in Washington DC with a BS degree in Financial Management. Dick was recalled during the Korean War and served in Germany as a lieutenant in the artillery. After returning to Washington, DC, he worked for WTTG(TV), in the accounting department subsequently becoming business manager. He left WTTG in 1956 to join Evening Star Broadcasting, ultimately becoming president and chief executive officer. In 1976 he moved from the broadcasting arm when he was elected president and chief executive officer of the Washington Star newspaper. In 1977, he left the Star to become executive vice-president of WSPA, Spartanburg, SC. Dick retired from Summit Communications, Winston-Salem, NC in 1988 when he and his wife, the late Christine Beuchert of Washington, DC, came to Hilton Head Plantation. Dick was a founder and board member of the Institute of Broadcast Financial Management (now MFMA), and belonged to numerous industry organizations. He was a founding member the South Carolina Yacht Club. Dick loved boating the waters around the Northern Neck of Virginia and Hilton Head, dining out with friends and rocking in his favorite chair on the back porch in his Hilton Head "paradise".


Stephen Scott Hershey (1938 - 2016)

Stephen Scott Hershey, age 77, of Ormond Beach, passed away on Wednesday May 11, 2016. Steve was born on June 22, 1938 in New York city, and was a long time resident of Ormond Beach, Florida. Steve was a devout Catholic, a dedicated veteran of the Marine reserves, a lover of life, travel, and all things sports.
He was the life of every party, with a personality that was boisterous and was always ready with a story to tell about his unique and well traveled life. His career as a sports writer for USA Today took him to every corner of the globe, and his countless published articles, and book, "The Senior Tour," will be steadfast reminders of his true passion for and connection to the sporting world. Steve himself, was an avid golfer for many years, and was a past member of Ocean Side Country Club, where he served on many executive committees.


Kevin A. Tatum, 64, former Inquirer sportswriter

Kevin A. Tatum, 64, of Voorhees, N.J., an Inquirer sportswriter for almost three decades, died Friday at Cooper University Hospital in Camden of throat cancer.

Before joining the Inquirer's sports staff, where he covered college teams, Mr. Tatum worked for several other newspapers, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the now-defunct Washington Star in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Tatum was one of the first African Americans to become an Inquirer sportswriter, and wrote more than 4,000 article for the newspaper.

Mr. Tatum retired five years ago. He did so after the sports website Deadspin reported that he appeared to have plagiarized five paragraphs from a fan site and used them in a blog item.

His colleagues recalled him as a versatile beat writer whose main game was hoops.

"Kevin was a great basketball player himself, and he wound up being closely connected with a sport that he loved," recalled Jim Swan, the Inquirer's deputy sports editor. "He spent years on the college basketball beat in a town where that was a premier assignment, covering the game night in and night out. He was able to make a career out of covering a sport that he treasured."

On and off the job, Mr. Tatum was a shy man who nonetheless cherished camaraderie and friendship. "Kevin has a plethora of friends, all of whom I adopted as my own brothers," older sister Joyce Brown said.

With his brother Rodney, Mr. Tatum for 32 years hosted an annual Father's Day picnic in Washington, D.C., where he was born and raised.

"He was just open, welcoming, and had an awesome sense of humor," Brown said. "He never forgot anybody."

Mr. Tatum excelled in sports while attending Taft Junior High School and McKinley High School in Washington. Under the tutelage of his father - an athlete himself - Mr. Tatum first played baseball, but later became a star basketball player and a noted playmaker in high school.

Mr. Tatum studied journalism at Indian River Junior College in Florida and Minot State University in North Dakota.

Attribution: Sofiya Ballin,
Full article: Kevin Tatum

Long-serving ex-president of UM ‘Tad’ Foote dies

Edward Thaddeus ‘Tad’ Foote II, who transformed the University of Miami from Suntan U into an academically rigorous university with a growing national reputation during his 20-year tenure as president, died Monday night, University of Miami officials announced. He was 78.

He died from complications of Parkinson’s Disease, his daughter Julia Foote LeStage said Monday night, adding he died peacefully at East Ridge nursing facility in Cutler Bay.

“This is a sad day, but also a day of celebration for an extraordinary life,” she said.

Professional: Reporter, Washington Star, 1963-64; Washington Daily News, 1964-65; associate, Bryan, Cave, McPheeters & McRoberts, St. Louis, 1966-70; vice chancellor, general counsel, Washington University, 1970-75; Dean, School of Law, Washington University, 1973-1980; special advisor to chancellor and board of trustees, 1980-81, Washington; president, University of Miami, 1981- present.

Attribution: Joan Chrissos, Susan Miller Degnan and Rory Clarke -

Full Story: Tad

Sam Eastman, press secretary to D.C. mayor, dies at 89

Sam Eastman, right, with Walter E. Washington
 in an undated photo. (Family Photo)
Sam Eastman, a press secretary for the last of the District’s unappointed chief executives and for the city’s first modern mayor, Walter E. Washington, died Dec. 3 at a hospital in Rockville, Md. He was 89.

The cause was complications from hip surgery, said a daughter, Jennifer Eastman.

When Mr. Eastman began his career in 1946 as a copy boy for the Washington Star, the District had not held mayoral elections in nearly 80 years. The city was instead administered by powerful congressional committees that oversaw its legislation and budget, as well as a three-member Board of Commissioners appointed by the president.

Mr. Eastman was reporting on Capitol Hill and D.C. politics for the Star when the District commissioners appointed him head of a newly formed public affairs office in 1966. Under commission President Walter N. Tobriner, he acted as liaison between the commissioners and the Hill’s D.C. congressional committees.

In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson reorganized the District government, consolidating power under a single commissioner and an appointed nine-member City Council. Tobriner’s replacement, Washington, became the first African American to lead a major American city.

“Although I was a former reporter with the conservative Washington Star and a white carryover from the Board of Commissioners era, Mr. Washington kept me on,” Mr. Eastman recalled in a 2003 letter to The Washington Post. “I am proud to say we also became friends.”

After the passage of the Home Rule Act under President Richard M. Nixon, which provided for an elected mayor and an elected city council, Washington was elected mayor in 1973.

Despite Washington’s years in office, prejudice toward the city’s black chief executive remained stubbornly persistent, Mr. Eastman recalled.

In his 2003 letter to The Post, Mr. Eastman wrote that he once applied to buy a condominium at Tilden Gardens, a development in Washington’s predominately white Cleveland Park neighborhood. Mr. Eastman said he believed he was rejected by the board “because of the remote possibility that the city’s black mayor might be our guest in its private dining room.”

Washington lost his 1978 reelection bid to council member Marion Barry, who would go on to his first of four terms as mayor. Mr. Eastman then served as a special assistant to the D.C. Department of Human Resources from 1980 until retiring in 1998.

Samuel Thomas Eastman was born in Little Rock on Jan. 18, 1926, and grew up in Alexandria, Va., where he graduated in 1943 from George Washington High School. He served in the Army during World War II and was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Attribution: Harrison Smith -

Full articles: Sam Eastman

Willem D. Scheltema, March 19, 1957 - November 6 2015

Washington Star sports desk 1978—1981; inserted the last sports agate in the final edition. Died on Friday, November 6th at 58. He resided in Greenbelt, Maryland with his two cats "Hunter" and "Thompson."

Photo attribution: William Castronuovo

Maria O'Leary, July 22, 1930 - October 13, 2015

Maria Teresa Eneim O'Leary, 85, died on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at home in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia. She was born on July 22, 1930 to Adelina Felix Eneim and Arturo Guadalupe Eneim in Los Angeles. In 1955 she married Jeremiah Aloysius O'Leary, Jr. who preceded her in death in 1993. Together they raised five children, son Timothy A. O'Leary of Alexandria and Manila, Philippines, son Brendan T. O'Leary of Alexandria, daughter Deirdre O'Leary Stamper of Alexandria, daughter Caitlin O'Leary Gage of Alexandria and daughter Moira O'Leary of Austin, Texas.

Maria opened Nuevo Mundo in 1966 and made it a premier destination in the Washington area for fashion and art. Her store was an extensive and expertly curated collection of antiques, artifacts and jewelry from around the world; many collected through her travels abroad. Her love of textiles and religious reliquary made her a sought after expert in these areas. She loved running Nuevo Mundo and felt as though all who entered were as guests in her home. Nuevo Mundo was more than a boutique, it was a salon where people gathered to share in the community that Maria created and tended to with love and attention. Daughters Deirdre and Caitlin worked with their mother beginning in their teens until the Nuevo Mundo closed its doors in 2011.


Bill Garner, longtime Washington Times cartoonist, dies at 79

Bill Garner stopped drawing political cartoons for The Washington Times six years ago, but he never stopped being an artist.

He had several showings of his paintings at an Annapolis gallery. He would sketch passers-by as his wife Patricia Garner did mall-walking. Sometimes people would take notice and ask him to teach them how to draw, which he was happy to do.

“With a line here, a splash of ink there, a shadow skillfully applied, Bill would have a deserving senator, president or other rogue or rascal walking around without his head, exposed for all to see,” said columnist Wes Pruden, who was The Washington Times editor in chief for much of Mr. Garner’s tenure.

“Bill was one of the best,” Mr. Pruden said.

Born Aug. 7, 1935, in Temple, Texas, William Simpson Garner attended the Texas School of Fine Arts and spent a year at the University of Texas at Austin. He enlisted in the Army in 1956, winning recognition as a champion sharpshooter.

After leaving the military in 1962, he was working as an illustrator for the Washington (Evening) Star when editorial page editor Smith Hempstone approached him about drawing editorial cartoons twice a week.

“The editor came and asked him if he’d like to do it,” Mrs. Garner said. “He said, ‘Would you like to try it?’ and [Bill] tried it, and he loved it.”

John Lannan, longtime newsman, dies at 87

John Lannan, a reporter and editor for numerous organizations, including The Associated Press, has died. He was 87.

Lannan, who suffered from Parkinson's dementia, died Thursday at Cove's Edge at Miles in Damariscotta, Maine, said one of his sons, Jonathan Lannan.

He started at the Manchester Union Leader and the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire before joining The AP in Augusta, Maine. He covered the U.S. space program, including the moon landing, for the Boston Herald-Traveler and Washington Star.

During the Nixon administration, he was an assistant to the president's science adviser and filled a similar role for the Salk Institute.

Lannan was owner/publisher of the weekly Summit County Journal in Breckenridge, Colorado, and taught at The School of Mines and the University of Denver.


James Bertram Rowland - Reporter for 25 years, June 18, 2015

James B. Rowland, “Jim”, a 35 year resident of Annapolis and previously of Silver Spring, MD, passed away on Thursday, June 18, 2015 at Somerford Place in Annapolis from complications related to Alzheimer ’s disease. Jim was born on October 2, 1928 in Los Angeles, CA, to the late Clarence and Ellen Hetchler Rowland. He was a 1951 graduate of the University of MD, receiving Bachelor’s degrees in History and English. He was a reporter with the Washington Star for 25 years, followed by a 20 year career with the Maryland State Budget Office as a Public Information Officer. During that period he also worked in the Governor’s office for Blair Lee, III and Harry Hughes. Jim was a gifted writer, avid reader and history enthusiast, with a particular passion for American Revolution and Civil War history. He also enjoyed travelling with his companion of 35 years, Mary Ann Porter.

William C. Thompson Jr., 78, of Edgewater, Production Manager

William C Thompson Jr., 78, of Edgewater, MD was born on June 30, 1936 and entered eternal life on June 10, 2015 after a long battle with COPD.

He worked at the Washington Star and Washington Post Newspapers as a production machinist, from where he retired from in 1998. Bill enjoyed life at his home in Ponder Cove fishing and boating on “Lucky Lady,” family crab feasts and cookouts. He was a faithful “Redskin” fan and enjoyed attending the games with his nephews. Bill was an active member of the Elks Lodge in Edgewater and Moose Club in Annapolis.

Attribution: Edgewater-Davidsonville 

Earle D. Hightower, Washington Star Photographer, June 8, 2015

Earle D. Hightower was born October 8, 1922 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the fifth child of Eugene Clyde Hightower and Alta Theo Fiske and died June 8, 2015 in Pinehurst. He graduated from Salida (CO.) High School and was a journalism major at Mesa College when WW II began. He enlisted in the Army March 1942 and was honorably discharged in 1946. He met Laurene Dale Jones, whom he described as a “beautiful Army telephone operator” at Ft. Knox. They were married 69 years at the time of his death. They moved to Los Alamos, NM , where he was the first civilian Chief of Security at the AEC test site, where the atomic bomb was being tested. He was promoted to Sandia Base and then to the Las Vegas Test Site, and finally to headquarters in Washington, DC.

While a new father and full time employee he earned a BA from American University. He later earned a Master’s Degree and a BS from University of Maryland. He retired as Assistant Director of Security for the AEC after 30 years of service. While with the government, he invented and patented various masking and de-bugging devices. In his “off hours” he began two weekly newspapers, the Gaithersburg (now Montgomery County) Gazette, and the Damascus Courier. He was also a professional photographer for the Washington Star, photographing D.C. political and society notables. After retirement he had a second career as a licensed real estate broker and appraiser. He was a tireless animal advocate, rehabilitating crows, treeing poachers until they could be arrested, and nursing various abandoned dogs and cats back to health. In his final years he wrote a book, “The Oppenheimer Conspiracy”, based on his confrontation with the physicist at Los Alamos.

Full story: Hightower

John R. Allen, Post editor who specialized in layout, Washington Star Sports Stringer, dies at 69

John R. Allen in Barcelona in 2012. (Photo by Christine Colby)
John R. Allen, a Washington Post editor who in 34 years with the newspaper helped design the layout of stories on Page One as well as pages in the Metro, Style and Sports sections, died May 31 in Manhattan. He was 69.

His wife, Jo Rector Allen, said he was stricken with symptoms consistent with a pulmonary embolism or a heart attack. An autopsy is being performed to determine the cause. An Arlington resident, he was on vacation when he died at a hotel.

Mr. Allen joined The Post in 1969 as a copy editor, and he retired in 2003 as deputy news editor. His career spanned an era of change in the technology of producing a daily newspaper, the evolution of hot type to cold type and the use of computers to produce a printed paper.

Ed Thiede, a Post news projects editor, wrote in an announcement that Mr. Allen “helped guide the newspaper from the days of paste-up and black-and-white images through the launch of electronic pagination and color photography and into the days when the Metro section was zoned three ways every day.”

John Robert Allen was born in Omaha on Nov. 27, 1945. He grew up in Arlington, where he graduated from Yorktown High School and was a high school sports stringer for the former Washington Star newspaper. He attended Duke University.

Sam Zelman, pioneer of local TV news who helped start CNN, dies at 100

Sam Zelman created “The Big News,”
a 45-minute local broadcast at L.A.'s KNXT (now KCBS-TV)
that inspired the shift to longer newscasts. (handout,)
LOS ANGELES — Local TV newscasts in the 1950s often consisted of five minutes of news, five minutes of sports and another five minutes of weather.
Broadcast journalist Sam Zelman blew up that formula.

In 1961 he created “The Big News” at KNXT-TV (now KCBS-TV) that presented 45 minutes of local news, sports and weather, kicked off by the regal-looking Jerry Dunphy intoning: “From the desert to the sea to all of Southern California, a good evening.”
Local news was never the same, and Zelman, late in his career, went on to help create another breakthrough in TV news that naysayers said would never work — CNN.
Zelman, 100, died Friday at his home in Tucson, Arizona. The cause was respiratory failure, said his wife, Sally Davenport.
Many in broadcasting thought KNXT was crazy to program a 45-minute local news block. “People said, ‘How ever are you going to fill it?’” Pete Noyes, the first city editor of “The Big News,” said in a 2011 Los Angeles Times interview.
But newspapers, covering a variety of topics, were what Zelman wanted to emulate. “I like the subject to change often,” he told a group of students in Tucson in a 2013 video-recorded class session. “With a newspaper, I can move from one story to another.”
He hired a somewhat hard-bitten group of reporters and editors, many of whom came from newspapers and news services. They brought with them the stereotypical hard-news lifestyle of the era.
“There were bottles of booze in the desks of several writers and producers,” Noyes wrote in his “The Real Los Angeles Confidential” memoir. “The smell of burning trash cans resulted from discarded cigarettes that were still lit.”
But Zelman wanted to give audiences what couldn’t be conveyed in a 15-minute newscast. “He would say, ‘You’ve got to give them stories they will remember. You’ve got to rely on the intelligence of the audience,’” Noyes said in an interview last week.
To front the broadcast, he wanted strong on-air personalities. In addition to Dunphy, who became a Los Angeles institution in four decades of anchoring, the “The Big News” had Maury Green for investigative reports, Ralph Story for on-air essays, former actor and umpire Gil Stratton for sports and funnyman Bill Keene on weather. All predeceased Zelman.
The show had a slow start in ratings, but eventually walloped the competition and was widely emulated across the country.
“He turned TV news into real journalism,” University of Southern California journalism professor Joe Saltzman said.
Zelman was born Oct. 6, 1914, in Washington. As a boy, he had a paper route delivering the Washington Star, earning $6 a month.

Full story: Frederick News Post - Sam Zelman
Attribution: Associated Press - DAVID COLKER

Donald Neff, foreign correspondent and author, dies at 84

Donald Neff, a journalist and author who covered international news from Vietnam to Israel for Time and wrote acclaimed books about political and military strife in the Middle East, died May 10 at a nursing center in York, Pennsylvania. He was 84.

The cause was coronary heart disease and diabetes, said his companion, Janet McMahon, managing editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

After joining Time in 1965, Neff spent nearly two years as a Saigon correspondent and later was bureau chief in Houston (where he covered the Apollo moon landing), Los Angeles, Jerusalem and New York before leaving the magazine in 1979.

He was one of the first journalists to report on the Jonestown massacre in 1978 when more than 900 members of a religious commune in Guyana died of mass cyanide poisoning.

The next year, he chronicled the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. Soon afterward, Neff settled in Washington and worked briefly as an editor for the old Washington Star newspaper before embarking as a career as an author and freelance writer.

His books included a trilogy about the Arab-Israeli conflicts of 1956, 1967 and 1973: “Warriors at Suez: Eisenhower Takes America into the Middle East” (1981), “Warriors for Jerusalem: The Six Days That Changed the Middle East” (1984) and “Warriors Against Israel” (1988).

Reviewers praised the volumes for combining narrative thrust with compelling insights on Middle East tensions.

Writing about “Warriors Against Israel” in a Washington Post review, Archibald B. Roosevelt, a grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt and former high-level CIA official with expertise in the Middle East, called the book “not only a well-documented and authoritative account, but a riveting exposé of how Henry Kissinger nudged the United States from its position as umpire in the contest to one of strong alliance with Israel.”

Roosevelt said that he “was impressed by the originality of Neff’s presentation and surprised by his devastating conclusions, assembled from facts previously known to most of us only piecemeal. It is not only a good read, but essential background for serious students of developments in the Middle East today.”

Donald Lloyd Neff was born Oct. 15, 1930, in York, Pennsylvania. He served in the Army from 1940 to 1950 and briefly attended college before beginning his journalism career in 1954 in his home town. He then spent many years in Los Angeles for the old Mirror-News newspaper and United Press International. He joined the Los Angeles Times in 1960, where he was a Tokyo correspondent before moving to Vietnam for Time.

Attribution: Adam Bernstein, The Washington Post

Gail Woolley Dies, Helped Finance Newhouse Students

Gail Campbell Woolley, a reporter for the old Washington Star, the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Times before joining the public relations department of the ExxonMobil Corp., died March 16 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, her husband, Howard Woolley, told Journal-isms on Friday.

She suffered from sickle cell anemia, Woolley said. She was 58.

The couple donated $50,000 to endow a scholarship at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, where they met, Woolley, a Verizon executive, said. They also sponsored an eye clinic at Johns Hopkins for research on the link between sickle cell anemia and eye problems. In addition, Newhouse hosts the Howard and Gail Campbell Woolley Broadcast Journalism Lab.

"I knew Gail both as a colleague when we worked together at the Baltimore Sun and later as the dean of her alma mater," Lorraine Branham, dean of the Newhouse school, messaged Journal-isms on Friday. "It was great to reconnect with her when I became dean. She was outspoken, compassionate and dedicated to the cause of helping the next generation of African American journalists." Branham added, "Anyone who knows Gail will tell you that she did not tolerate fools."

A wake took place in Washington on Friday, with a memorial service to follow in April.

"Gail loved doing exciting things like shark feeding in Tahiti, safaris in South Africa, or cruising on the Nile, . . ." according to the program for the wake.

"Gail was always courageous and optimistic while juggling a career, family, travel, and managing her Sickle Cell disease. After her 2012 diagnosis of Pulmonary Hypertension, Gail took up scuba diving so she could continue her aquatic activities while receiving oxygen support. Howard stood by her every step of the way. At the time of her death, Gail had written 450 pages of her autobiography describing her lifetime of achievement and adventure while battling the effects of Sickle Cell disease."

Attribution: Richard Prince,

Brigido "Brig" Cabe January 17, 1943 - December 17, 2014

The most interesting man in the world is not a fictional character. In fact, one could argue that Brig Cabe was the inspiration for this man.

Brig Cabe was born in the Bronx to Brigido and Marialina Cabe in 1943. Always curious and dexterous, Brig would deconstruct and reconstruct everything from radios to homemade explosives. Often times, his unsuccessful attempts would overshadow his successful attempts, but this did not extinguish his interest and determination to wreak havoc.

If one were to look at Brig during his formative years, many would guess that he would be an engineer, rocket scientist or a pyromaniac. However, after watching Martin Luther King Jr. on the television one evening, Brig felt compelled to join the Civil Rights Movement in any way that he could. One evening, Brig quietly left his New Jersey home—abandoning a promising engineering career—picked up a camera and landed on Dr. King's doorstep. After knocking on the door in search of a job, Dr. King hired him as his personal photographer and wanted to keep Brig around because he enjoyed his tenacity and spirit. Brig's fast-paced life with the movement landed him in some unique situations including jail time with Dr. King and getting beaten by the Ku Klux Klan, to name a couple. Thankfully, Brig never became a permanent jailbird.

While Brig worked for the Civil Rights Movementas an active member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Brig and his then-wife, Vera, became the happy parents of two wonderful children, Ian and Sabina. Brig stayed with Dr. King until his unfortunate assassination in 1968. Following his time in Atlanta, Brig was recruited for a photojournalism job at the Washington Star and moved Washington, D.C. with the young family in tow.

Always the curious traveler, Brig's job gave him the opportunity to travel the world and experience many cultures. Photo assignments took him across the world to countries including: Egypt, Senegal, Cambodia, China, India, Israel, Japan, Laos, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain, Canada, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Chile… to name a few. Brig's travels fueled his passion for local and exotic cuisine, often relying mostly on advice from cab drivers about the best local hole-in-the-wall—if there weren't any locals eating there, then stay away! Brig's passion for traveling and adventure was something he would soon pass along to his children.

Brig met Joanne in Washington, D.C. at a well-known restaurant and watering hole. Brig had a prospective client meeting to discuss a photography opportunity when Joanne and a couple friends walked into the restaurant. Joanne and her friends struck up a conversation with Brig and his client, which led to the exchange of phone numbers. After a yearlong courtship that included exploring the culture and cuisine of Washington, D.C., and Joanne assisting with photo assignments, Brig asked Joanne to marry him. Joanne said yes, and they were married at the Lutheran Church of Reformation in 1980.

After Brig and Joanne married, the Cabe clan grew—Jordan, Ariel and Leslie joined their older siblings. Ian and Sabina took on the roles of a caring older brother and sister. As life progressed and his children grew, Brig was blessed with a bountiful bunch of loving grandchildren: Oren, Ian, Devina, Zachary, Sade, Marc Anthony, Sereneti, Adrien, and twins Morgan and Paige. Brig's grandchildren filled him with joy and love, often proclaiming how proud they made him.

Although Brig officially retired, he never stopped taking photographs. He often inserted himself as the additional photographer for graduations, weddings, dinners and so on. Also, Brig was a staple on the sidelines of his children's soccer games, snapping photos with his trusty 400mm.At every family event, Brig was always able to capture the moments and memories that will last forever.

Brig's daughter Sabina has been known to say: "he lived life like it was a buffet." Brig was compassionate, patient, loving, wise, hungry, hilarious, thoughtful, sentimental, caring, humble, goofy, well traveled and well spoken. To say that he was a special person is a huge understatement. His soul and spirit will forever be honored through his wife, brother, children, grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, and his legacy will never be forgotten.

Brig was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease seven years ago with his symptoms worsening over the past couple of years. Unfortunately, he developed a severe case of pneumonia due to complications with the disease, and lost his battle on December 17th. He was surrounded and comforted by his family as his spirit left his body to join his mother and father in eternity. While he is no longer with us physically, his spirit will remain with us forever.


Former Detroit News sports columnist Bryan Burwell dies

St. Louis — Bryan Burwell, a longtime sports columnist with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, died Thursday after a short battle with cancer. He was 59. Burwell previously was a columnist for The Detroit News.

The Post-Dispatch made the announcement on its website,

"I worked with Bryan at three different newspapers," Detroit News sports editor Phil Laciura said Thursday. "He was a true professional and always upbeat. He was also a trailblazer for many African-American journalists."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports editor Roger Hensley said in a statement that Burwell was one of the most well-respected journalists in his field. The Associated Press Sports Editors named Burwell one of the top 10 sports columnists in the country in 2007.

Burwell joined the Post-Dispatch in 2002 after working as a correspondent for HBO's "Inside the NFL." During a long career, Burwell also wrote columns for USA Today, wrote for the Washington Star and worked in New York at the Daily News and Newsday.

In recent seasons, Burwell had begun working in sports video.

Attribution: Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Conservation pioneer John Kauffmann dies at 91

Longtime Somesville resident John Kauffman, who was one of the country’s conservation pioneers, died peacefully at his home in Yarmouth on Nov. 16. He was 91.

Kauffman was born in Champaign IL, but grew up in Washington D.C., and Stark, NH.

After a career in the diplomatic service he worked as a reporter at the Washington Star newspaper where his family was part owner. He later worked as a National Park Service planner assisting in the establishment of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and the Cape Cod National Seashore.

In 1972 he was assigned to Alaska and helped study which areas of that state would become national parks, monuments and preserves. His efforts helped preserve more than 100 million acres.

In his book “Coming into the Country,” author John McPhee, who credits Kauffmann with inspiring many of his works, recounts accompanying Kauffmann on one of his field explorations in Alaska. McPhee writes, obviously tongue in cheek that any bear that would bite Kauffmann, would be “most unlikely to complete the meal.”

Full story: John Kauffmann
Attribution: Mount Desert Islander,

Kelly Leiter, former UT dean of communications, dies

Barnard Kelly Leiter, former dean of the College of Communication and Information at the University of Tennessee and a one-time reporter for the Chicago Daily News, among other publications, remained a journalist even after his death last week at age 89.

It turns out, Mr. Leiter had carefully crafted his own four-page typed obituary and sent it to his friend and lawyer, Rick Hollow, in 2009.

“The four pages relating to my unimpressive trek through life may seem a bit overindulgent. (Like who really cares.),” Mr. Leiter wrote in an accompanying letter, which Hollow was instructed to open only after its author’s death. “But I’m including it so that if anyone should ask you, you will have it on hand.”

His close friend and fellow former UT dean, Dwight Teeter, upon learning about the self-penned obituary, laughed.

“He was a journalist to the core, and you might as well get it right,” Teeter said.

Mr. Leiter, who had never married, was found dead Saturday by another close friend, Teeter said. He was discovered in bed “as if he was reading,” Teeter said.

Mr. Leiter was born Oct. 25, 1925, in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended Indiana University and twice served in the Navy, first as an enlisted 17-year-old seaman during World War II and again as a reservist during the Korean War.

After completing his second tour of service in the Pacific, he began his newspaper career in Rockford, Ill. Mr. Leiter went on to a 15-year career as a reporter, feature writer, columnist and editor at the Indianapolis News, the Chicago Daily News, the Washington Star and the Hialeah (Fla.) Home News. He also served as a Midwest correspondent for Life magazine.

Full Story: Barnard Kelly Leiter

Attribution: Megan Boehnke -

Thomas J. Burke, Sr., 89, Star Reporter, Editor Arlington Daily

Thomas J. Burke, Sr., 89 of Hollywood, MD, passed away November 10, 2014 surrounded by loving family at his home. He was born in Bronx, NY, on January 29, 1925 to William P. Burke and Eleanor White Burke.

Leaving high school early, Tom proudly served in the United States Army during World War II in the Bomb Disposal Unit. After the war, Tom earned his Bachelors Degree from George Washington University and began his career in the field of Public Relations. He was a reporter for The Washington Star, Editor of the Arlington Daily, Director of Public Affairs for the Maryland-National Park & Planning Commission, Director of Public Relations for American National Bank and then became a Partner with Hoffman Associates Public Relations Firm. Tom finally settled at Holy Cross Hospital as the Director of Public Relations in Silver Spring, MD, where he ultimately retired in 1985, after 15 years of service.

Upon retirement, Tom moved to St. Mary’s County with his wife Sally permanently. In St. Mary’s County, he continued in the public relations field and in community service as a volunteer and active member with the Rotary Club, St Mary’s Historical Society, St. Mary’s Hospital Auxiliary, Optimists Club, the Barbershop Quartet, and presided over the annual Oyster Festival for several years. Tom was well-known for his love of family and country, eloquence as an orator, and the stories he shared. His generous nature, smile and voice and solid presence will be dearly missed by so many.

Attribution: smnewsnet. com