You couldn’t miss Lou Sepersky at a Silurians luncheon.
Tall and lanky at 6’4, with a rakish head of salt-and-pepper hair, he would tower over the table with his unassuming personality and ever-ready smile. Lou, a journalist who found his true calling in community leadership, advocating for issues ranging from transportation to women’s rights and civil rights, died of cancer on Sept. 18 at his home in Manhattan. He was 87.
“He had a progressive mind and understood that civil and women’s rights were everyone’s concern,” said Leida Snow, his wife of more than 41 years and a fellow Silurian. Lou went south during Freedom Summer in 1964.
From 1962 through 1975, Lou reported for the Staten Island Advance, The New York Post under Dolly Schiff, UPI, and McGraw Hill, as well as two New Jersey newspapers: the Herald News in Passaic and the Hudson Dispatch in Union City. But as a lifelong Democrat and New Yorker, with a Bachelor’s degree in political science from Drake University and a Master’s in history from the University of Michigan, Lou decided “to get his PhD in New York politics,” Leida said.
From journalism he segued to community activism, serving for more than 50 years on Community Board 6, which encompassed his home district of Manhattan’s East Side. First appointed to the board by Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, he was subsequently reappointed by every succeeding borough president.
He served as Board Chair for two years but was happiest working behind the scenes. A list of his leadership positions reads like a paean to grass-roots activism. He was chair of the Transportation Committee, a longtime member of the Land Use and Waterfront Committee, and also served on the Parks, Landmarks and Cultural Affairs Committee, the Public Safety Committee, and other committees.
As a transportation advocate, one of Lou’s most passionate causes was the Second Avenue Subway, which he championed tirelessly as early as 1998. Books, newspaper articles, and reports identify him as a “concerned citizen” who pressed for a “fully built” Second Avenue subway at hearings and meetings and worked with elected officials to assure funding for the project. He also pushed unsuccessfully for the JFK AirTrain to continue through to Manhattan, telling the New York Post in 2001 that the $64 million spent on the train was a “colossal waste of money” since it ends in Jamaica.
When a plan arose for the East 34th Street Heliport to hold events like tai chi, farmers’ markets, and a beer garden, Lou was there to talk sense. The now-defunct New York and Chicago website DNAinfo.com quoted him in 2017: “A pilot traveling in an emergency situation does not have the option of looking out and saying, ‘I can’t land there because there’s a rock concert going on,’” he said.
Lou advocated for affordable housing in the plan to redevelop two Con Edison parcels along First Avenue south of the U.N. Among the ways he showed support for women was by donating to a group now called Women Creating Change, among only a handful of men to do so in 2019. His Letter to the Editor advocating a woman’s right to choose appeared in the New York Times in 1982. His letter on congestion pricing, published in the Times in 2007, still is relevant.
Lou’s other roles included serving as the Community District 6 historian and working as a photographer who gravitated to politicians as his subjects. His photo of the late Democratic Congressman Ted Weiss, who served in the House of Representatives for New York from 1977 until his death in 1992, hangs in the Ted Weiss Federal Building in Lower Manhattan. Other examples of Lou’s excellently composed photos can be found in various local publications, often accompanying an article by Leida Snow.
Born in Brooklyn in 1935, Lou spent his adult life living on Manhattan’s East Side—for decades in the East Fifties with Leida. She described him as a passionate New Yorker who was on “the right side” of every important issue. The couple chose to remain in New York during the Covid pandemic while many others left, just one of the many issues they agreed on.
“Lou loved to walk around the city—everything was a show,” Leida said. “The thing that hurt was he couldn’t do it at the end.”
Upon learning of Lou’s passing, several prominent Democratic leaders contacted Leida, identifying Lou as someone who made a difference. Among those were Congressman Jerry Nadler, former Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, and State Senator Liz Krueger. — Roberta Hershenson
What was he doing there?
Though it turned out superb journalists and writers, the New York Post that Warren Hoge worked at in 1971 was a place filled with rough-edged people like me from blue-collar, borough, or striver backgrounds and more than a handful of oddball characters, all led by a Bogart-tough editor-in-chief. The City Room itself, located in a rundown building along West Street’s elevated highway viaducts, was exquisitely gritty, with its battered typewriters, spikes, pencils and carbon-copy writing “books.” This engaging seediness was especially true of the lobster shift—1AM to 8AM– that I was first assigned to as a rewrite man.
Yet there was Warren, our night city editor, suave, cultured, urbane not urban, with the blueblood credentials to match–a Silk Stocking district upbringing with stops at Buckley School, Phillips Exeter, and Yale—and he was delighted to be there.
Warren, who died on August 23 at the age of 82 at his home in Manhattan, reveled in the rough-and-tumble of deadline journalism as if this was real life and where he came from a fairy tale. But he was never haughty or condescending. He traded New York and Washington gossip with the best of us, graciously bemused at times but not dismissive. He was a cunning observer. If memory serves, he explained Dolly Schiff’s clinging to a money-losing Post because she didn’t want to wind up as just another “old lady on the Upper East Side with a small dog.”
I remember, too, how he hired Joyce Wadler as a reporter. After first rejecting her, telling her that the Post needed to hire more minority reporters, he swiveled after she responded with a letter peppered with mock Spanish phrases claiming she had discovered that she was an adopted Puerto Rican. “So, White Boy, if you’d like to discuss this development over a plate of rice and beans, call me,” she said. Warren not only got a good chuckle out of the letter but was grateful for having struck a goldmine of edgy humor.
Of course, he had a different man-about-town life outside the Post, squiring movie and journalistic stars like Sally Quinn and Candice Bergen. More than a few of us wished we went through life with his grace and joie de vivre. And, damn it, he was movie star-handsome as well.
When he made it over to the Times in 1976 the place seemed a more appropriate fit, even though Abe Rosenthal, Arthur Gelb and many other editors and reporters had the same proletarian pedigree as those at the Post.
Warren’s talent as a journalist snared him assignments in Rio de Janeiro and London (in his career he reported from more than 80 countries) and titles at the Times of foreign editor, Sunday magazine editor and assistant managing editor. But whatever his job, Warren savored the tightly managed frenzy of putting out a paper every day.
Warren was as graceful, sophisticated a writer as he was a person. His magazine profile of Cary Grant, a fortuitous match of writer and subject, stands out in my mind for its revealing, lilting portrait of the icon of debonair charm. A line Warren elicited from Grant when Warren asked him how he viewed death still resonates: ”You know, when I was young, I thought they’d have the thing licked by the time I got to this age.”
He also issued tender profiles of the residents of the hillside favelas, beleaguered by violence and poverty, and of ordinary Brits mourning the improbable death of Princess Diana. And he was a sensitive, appreciative manager, as countless responses to his death made clear.
Warren was a longtime and avid Silurian and it was at one of our dinners a little more than a year ago that Warren, pale, shockingly thin and walking with a cane, told me, “I’ve been thrown a curve”—a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. But Warren did not hide his illness, showing up at events like the Silurians’ awards dinner last June in a wheelchair, aided by his wife Olivia at his side, and enjoying the camaraderie even as he knew it would not be long before he would, as he put it, be “leaving.”
Warren was born April 13, 1941 in Manhattan, the son of a trademark lawyer with ancestral roots among the early colonizers of Virginia. His mother was a socially prominent patron of opera and classical music and Warren had a lifelong passion for choirs and opera.
A stint as a reporter for the old Washington Star led to a Washington bureau chief appointment at the New York Post. In 1970 he moved to New York as city editor and later was elevated to assistant managing editor. The Times hired him in 1976 as a reporter and within a year he was named deputy metropolitan editor.
After three years in New York, he was posted to Rio de Janeiro, where he married Olivia Larisch, the daughter of a Spanish count and countess. They had a son, Nicholas, who survives him, along with Olivia; two stepdaughters, Christina Villax and Tatjana Leimer; his brother, James, who served as a publisher if the Chicago Sun-Times and the New York Daily News ; his sister Virginia Verwaal; and six step-grandchildren. His other sister, Barbara Hoge Daine, died in 2001.
A fitting epitaph for Warren might be an adaption of a line he used in his evocative 1977 profile of Cary Grant. “The newspaper world that created Warren Hoge is now the stuff of sepia photographs. Warren, however, still radiates in living color.”—Joe Berger
For the NY Times obituary of Warren, click here (paywall).
Stephen M. Silverman
SILVERMAN–Stephen M., age 71, reporter and historian of popular culture, died on July 6, 2023. The New York Post’s chief entertainment correspondent for years and a founding editor of people.com, he has contributed to publications across the United States and abroad, and taught journalism at Columbia University. Among his more than a dozen books are “David Lean,” “The Catskills: Its History and How It Changed America” and “The Amusement Park: 900 Years of Thrills and Spills, and the Dreamers and Schemers Who Built Them.” There will be a celebration of his life this fall after the publication of his last work, “Sondheim: His Life, His Shows, His Legacy.” He is survived by a niece, Sarah Silverman, and many devoted friends. Memorial gifts in Stephen’s name can be sent to PEN America (pen.org).
Published by New York Times on Jul. 9, 2023.
Marvin Kitman once claimed he never watched television until someone paid him to do it.
“I may be crazy,” he said, “but I’m not stupid.”
Nonetheless, Kitman devoted much of his life — including more than 35 years as the television critic at Newsday — in front of a TV. His views of the medium weren’t exactly what television executives wanted to read, but that mattered little to Kitman, whose iconoclastic, irreverent and witty verdicts made his syndicated column one of Newsday’s most popular features.
A long-time Silurian who made several appearances as a luncheon speaker over the years, Kitman died of cancer on June 29 at the Actors Fund Home in Englewood, N.J., not far from his home in Leonia. He was 93.
Kitman’s critiques had nothing to do with the size of a particular program’s viewing audience. He was generous with praise for such innovative programs as “All in the Family,” “Seinfeld,” “M*A*S*H” and “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” and he skewered numerous shows that drew major audiences — “Laverne & Shirley,” “Three’s Company” “Dallas” and “Charlie’s Angels,” for example — labeling them “pap.”
As befits a critic, he exuded self-confidence. While enrolled at CCNY in the 1950s, he wrote a column for one of the student publications. It was modestly called “I’m Never Wrong.” He titled his first book, a 1966 memoir, “The Number One Best Seller.” It wasn’t, but it launched his career as an author. Other books that followed included “George Washington’s Expense Account” (1970), a Kitmanesque view of how the nation’s first president handled his swindle sheet, and “The Man Who Would Not Shut Up: The Rise of Bill O’Reilly” (2007). His last book was “Gullible’s Travels: A Comical History of the Trump Era” (2020).
His honors include a Folio Award in 1988, a Humor Writing Award from the Silurians in 1991, and a Townsend Harris Medal from City College in 1992. In 1982, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for criticism.
In 1964, Kitman gave himself a ringside seat to presidential politics, playfully entering the New Hampshire primary as a “Lincoln Republican.” He said he was against slavery and declared, “I would rather be president than write.”
“My purpose was to satirize the campaign,” he explained to a reporter in 1972. “Eventually, I got caught up in it and my purpose was to become the president. People are always bringing it up, but I’d like to forget the whole thing. I’m a sore loser.”
Kitman was born on Nov. 24, 1929, in Pittsburgh. His family moved to Brooklyn, where he graduated from Brooklyn Tech High School, one of the city’s elite institutions. After graduating from CCNY in 1953, he served two years in the Army, writing for the post newspaper at Fort Dix, N.J. (“the last time I did anything to fight communism”).
He went on to hold a variety of jobs, including writing copy for Carl Ally, a Madison Avenue ad agency, and freelancing for publications such as the Saturday Evening Post and Monocle, a politically impudent humor magazine.
In 1967, during the Nixon administration, he was hired as a TV critic for New Leader Magazine. Two years later, on Dec.7,1969, he began writing for Newsday, “a day that will live in infamy,” he said, “as far as the TV industry is concerned.”
As the newly minted TV critic for one of New York’s daily newspapers, Kitman quickly proclaimed that his qualifications for the job were outstanding.
“I once ran for president, so I can interpret political stories,” he said. “When Dick [Nixon] does — or doesn’t — hold a press conference, I know what he’s doing. I went through all that myself. And I have no background in TV, per se. I never used to watch it. As a freelance writer, I was afraid of becoming addicted. As a result, I have a fresh eye. And the reruns . . . a lot of critics are against reruns. I love them. I never saw the program the first time.”
Kitman’s fear of becoming addicted to the tube once he became a critic proved groundless.
“I’m too busy writing about television to actually watch it,” he said.
His last column for Newsday ran on April 1, 2005.
From 1981 to 1987, Kitman himself appeared on television as a media commentator on “The Ten O’Clock News” on WNYW (formerly WNEW) in New York. His commentaries were also heard on the old RKO Radio Network.
When his days as a columnist were over, Kitman presented his thoughts on a blog, commenting on everything from websites run by multimillionaires who exploit writers by underpaying them to political scandals involving the people who run his state.
Commercials, he once said, provide television’s most educational moments.
“If you can teach a kid, at an early age, that advertisers lie,” he said, “that’s educational.” –By Mort Sheinman
At The New York Times in the late 1970s, a newly divorced man had no better friend than Mimi Sheraton. Needing tasters as she headed off to a restaurant destined for her scrutiny, she on occasion rounded up colleagues whose marriages had broken up. In those days they were almost always men, the sort who tended to be short on cash and even shorter on decent meals. Whatever restaurateurs may have thought of Mimi – and more than a few of them felt irredeemably bruised by her reviews – she had her colleagues’ hearts.
Mimi, who died on April 6 at age 94, was The Times’s restaurant and food critic from 1976 to 1983, but the newspaper was only one of her way stations across six decades of thinking about food, caring about food and, of course, writing about food, typically in no-nonsense prose and a brook-no-disagreement voice.
Her career took her to a slew of magazines, among them New York, Vanity Fair, Time and Condé Nast Traveler. She wrote a shelf’s worth of cookbooks, restaurant guides and a resource for trenchermen, “1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die.” As Bob McFadden noted in his stately obit for The Times, Mimi “calculated in 2013 that she had eaten 21,170 restaurant meals professionally in 49 countries.” One of the 49 was Israel, which she visited in the early 1990s with her husband, Richard Falcone. I was then The Times’s Jerusalem bureau chief and spent some time with them. After a few meals, Mimi decided that Israel was in no danger of landing on any discerning diner’s list of countries one absolutely must visit.
As the first woman to review restaurants for The Times, she resorted to various wigs and glasses, though how successful she was at disguising herself may be debatable. Suzanne Charlé, a Silurians board member who first met Mimi in 1973, recalled a time when Mimi, while ordering a meal, “turned her head quickly, and the wig tilted on her head.”
A memorial service was held on April 17 at Frank E. Campbell. In what may very well have been a first for the funeral home, pews were dotted with laminated copies of a recipe for chicken soup. It was, of course, Mimi’s recipe. No, the first step was not to steal a chicken. But it did begin with an admonition that “root vegetables are essential to this soup.”
The final speaker at the service was her son, Marc Falcone, who mentioned his mother’s disguises. “My dad, however, dined with her always and never wore a disguise, inspiring a short-lived rumor that Mimi Sheraton was, in fact, a man,” Marc said. “Her instinct about wearing the disguises was never so clearly confirmed as it was when an expensive restaurant seated us at a table so uncomfortably close to the kitchen door that every time the door swung open it revealed a photo of her with a large caption that said THIS IS MIMI SHERATON.”
Mimi’s diligence was legendary. How many people would gather 104 pastrami and corned beef samples in a single day to evaluate their viability in sandwiches? Or taste all 1,196 items sold in Bloomingdale’s food department? Or brew 97 pots of tea to test their worthiness?
She knew what she liked and didn’t like, whether the cuisine was haute or basse. Take the bagel. Who better to discuss its merits than Mimi, author of a book on the bialy, first cousin to the bagel. I once rang her up for a column on the state of New York bagels, and she wasted no time telling me, “In general, I think it’s deplorable.” Ideally, a bagel should be about 3.5 inches in diameter, she explained, but most tend to be a good deal larger. Their thickness “makes them like rubber tires,” she said.
As suggested by the lunches with no-longer-married colleagues, hers was a generous spirit. Linda Amster, the Times’s former chief researcher and editor of “The New York Times Jewish Cookbook,” said that Mimi wrote not just the introduction but also the prefaces to sections about each course of a meal. “And,” Linda said, “she also joined me at a Barnes & Noble appearance to publicize it.”
That generosity was evident in Mimi’s return to Midwood High School in Brooklyn, where, as Miriam Solomon, she had graduated in 1943. In 2004 she went back to help teach a writing course. She stretched the students’ vocabulary via meals. “Everybody eats and has opinions about food,” she said. No exception, her students found the school cafeteria’s French fries to be soggy and the hamburgers rubbery. And don’t start them on vegetables. “You can lead a horse to water,” Mimi said with a sigh, “but you can’t make it eat the broccoli.” – By Clyde Haberman
Grace O’Connor, a Silurian since 1997, an award-winning reporter and editor for the Albany Times Union for 22 years, and one of the first women installed in the Hall of Honor of the Women’s Press Club of New York State, died October 29, 2022 at Branford Hills Health Care Center in Connecticut.
Paul Grondahl, a former colleague at the Albany Times Union, was moved to write an appreciation, excerpted here in part:
“She was old enough to be my mother and she kept a Holy Bible atop her beige metal desk, next to an IBM Selectric typewriter and rotary telephone.
Grace O’Connor did not drink or curse, which, along with the Bible, made her an outlier in the rough-and-tumble bygone era of newspapering.
She was on a first-name basis with half of Albany. There was only one Grace.
“She was beloved by her readers and coworkers alike,” said Barb Zanella, who began as an editorial clerk at the Times Union in 1973 and worked for Grace, whom she considered a mentor and later a dear friend.
A former Baptist Sunday schoolteacher, Grace brought out the better angels of the hard-drinking, cynical 20-something reporters who worked alongside her….
“There was nothing phony about Grace. She was aptly named,” said Fred LeBrun, who arrived at the Knickerbocker News in 1967, moved to the Times Union in 1970 and worked as reporter, editor, restaurant critic and columnist and who still contributes a monthly column.
Grace became a kind of den mother to an unruly crew of scribes who helped pound out the first draft of history.
She regularly quoted Scripture in her feature stories, which graced the Times Union from 1969 to 1991. She got her start writing for the paper’s five weekly neighborhood supplements, known as the Suns, and later served as the Suns’ editor before becoming a general assignment reporter for the main broadsheet….” For more: https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Grondahl-Remembering-a-newsroom-full-of-Grace-17567547.php
Born in Long Branch, NJ on September 13, 1927, O’Connor graduated from Manasquan High School in 1945, and attended Monmouth Junior College in Long Branch and Rutgers South Jersey in Camden, NJ. While a teacher and director of Bethesda Lutheran Nursery School in New Haven, she was published regularly in magazines, including “Ingenue,” “Teen,” and religious publications.
As a community leader, she was President of the East Camden (NJ) Junior Women’s Club and a member of the state board of the New Jersey Federation of Jr. Women’s Clubs in the 1950’s, a member of the Branford, Connecticut Women’s Club in the 1960’s, and served on the board of the Community Dining Room in Branford.
O’Connor is survived by her daughter Patricia and her son-in-law Carmen Cavallaro, grandsons and beloved great grandchildren who called her “Grandma Grace.”
A celebration of her life and memorial service will be held at the First Baptist Church, 975 Main Street, Branford Connecticut on November 12 at 11:00.
A swell fellow, a proud Silurian, that all-round nice guy, Jim Lynn, left us on Aug. 10 due to complications from Covid. He was 88 and a retired editorial page writer at Newsday, where he had worked for 30 years.
Jim, a Princeton University graduate, went to Newsday in 1972 after stints at The Long Island Star-Journal, Newsweek, New York Herald Tribune, WABC-TV and WMCA radio. He was the Trib’s Albany bureau chief in 1966, on vacation in Europe when he got word that the paper had shut down.
His former colleagues at Newsday had nothing but awed references to Jim’s intelligence and wit. James Klurfeld, editorial page editor for Newsday from 1987 to 2007, remembered his friend and colleague as someone who represented old-fashioned virtues. “He was a terrific editor, a very careful fine, fine editor who always improved your writing,” Klurfeld said. “He improved my writing. I won an award for best editorials one year and I owe it all to Jim who I often showed my material to before I published it.”
Carol Richards, editorial page deputy editor from 1987 to 2006, said that during those years the editorial board was strong with smart, passionate people whose political leanings covered a wide range of beliefs. Lynn was the person to count on to be informed on liberal politics. “When we were having a debate about some issue, almost always political or governmental, Jim had opinions that people would listen to,” she said. “He wasn’t a knee jerk liberal; he was a well-informed liberal.”
“He always said he felt so lucky to have had the opportunities that he had,” his daughter, Nina Lynn said. “He also felt a great responsibility to use what he had been given, well and honorably.”
James Dougal Lynn was born in Houlton, Maine, and graduated from high school in Mount Lebanon, Pa., where a teacher recommended that he apply to Princeton. His experience there set him on a life-changing course, his daughter Nora Curry said, which included his first introduction to bagels. “His world opened up in so many ways. He made lifelong friends, he got to be with other people who loved reading and writing and thinking the way that he did, he’d not had that before.”
Dora Potter, Newsday alum, fellow Silurian and his devoted partner of 30 years, said Jim was “thoughtful of everyone.” Besides obvious acts of community service such as after he retired volunteering as a dispatcher for the local fire department, he would do unexpected, ordinary things that would never occur to others. He packed up his extensive collection of Playbills and took the train in from Long Island to give them to an Aids center for actors. He lugged interesting beer cans he’d picked up all over Europe to the delight of a friend back home who had a collection. “He never stopped thinking of others,” Potter said. “He was a steward for us all, he took care of us.”
His daughters agreed, saying their father gave them a set of values to live a life with empathy and public service.
He made one final act of public service: he donated his body to science. “To my dad it was sensible,” Nora Curry said. “It’s like ‘someone can use this and learn from it.’”
A memorial was scheduled for Nov. 6 at the Nassau County Museum of Arts in Roslyn, where Jim was a docent. Potter said it would be both in person and on Zoom. She said she particularly wanted that option so people can choose to be safe, since both she and Jim had suffered from Covid.—By Theasa Tuohy
Martin J. Steadman
Martin J. Steadman– who had a long, distinguished career in journalism, political consulting and public relations – died on May 31. He was 91.
Soft-spoken and self-effacing, he believed in honesty, loyalty and fair play. He was held in high esteem by everyone who knew him. His low-key personality enabled him to establish close working relationships with demanding clients like Gov. Mario Cuomo, whom Marty served as counselor and chief spokesman, and George Steinbrenner, the late principal owner of the New York Yankees, who was known for his impatience and volatile temper. (He fired and rehired Billy Martin, the team’s manager, five times.)
Through it all, Marty maintained a sense of humor about his clients and their demands. Shortly after he announced that he was leaving the governor’s office, I called to wish him well in his next endeavor. “You know what I’m not going to miss about my job?” he said. “The governor calling me at 6 every morning to read me the front-page headlines and ask why he wasn’t on the front page.”
Marty was a longtime member of the Silurians Press Club and a past president. He was also a member of the Inner Circle press club and a star performer in the organization’s annual lampoon shows. His voice, a high, whispery tenor, had the innocence of a pre-pubescent choir boy. But the lyrics of his songs, most of which he wrote himself, were full of well-aimed barbs that skewered the politicians and public officials of the day. The contrast between Marty’s voice and his lyrics was hilarious, and his performances always drew sustained laughter and applause from the audience.
Marty was an award-winning reporter who worked for The Journal-American in the 1950s and the Herald Tribune in the 1960s. When The Tribune folded in 1966, he ran as a Democrat for a Long Island seat in Congress. He lost, but the experience helped him when he served as a political consultant and strategist later on. He worked as an investigative reporter for WCBS-TV for several years, into the early 1970s. Then he formed his own public relations firm.
He was named counselor to the governor and chief spokesman in 1984. Afterward, he restarted his public relations firm and worked mostly as an Albany lobbyist. Current and retired journalists are usually good storytellers — it’s in our DNA — but Marty was one of the best. He loved to attend social gatherings with other former journalists and swap stories. When I left The New York Post in 1985 to join what was then New York Telephone, I created the perfect venue for him. I had the company buy a table to the Silurians’ semiannual dinners, and I would invite Marty and several other former journalists who knew him well. Marty always had a wonderful time at those dinners.
Marty grew up in Sunnyside, Queens, and graduated from the University of Miami. He lived in Garden City, Long Island, for many years. His wife, Peggy, died six years ago. He is survived by his son, James, and two granddaughters.—By Steven Marcus
Joseph J. Vecchione
Joe (Joseph J.) Vecchione was an admired and beloved sports editor of The New York Times for 10 years, starting in September 1980. He died on June 17 at the age of 85. His wife, Elizabeth, said he had suffered for five years from Lewy body disease, a slowly ravaging condition similar to Alzheimer’s.
Unlike previous sports editors, the majority of Joe’s background at the paper wasn’t on the writing or editing side. He joined The Times as a copy boy in 1960, after graduating from St. Peter’s in New Jersey, not far from where he had grown up in Union City. He worked as a makeup editor and deputy picture editor, overseeing coverage of Operation Sail in 1976.
Joe edited the SportsMonday section from 1978 until May 1980, when he became deputy editor of the newly launched national edition. He helped expand coverage beyond game stories to include features on a wide variety of sports and investigative reports into steroids and gambling.
On his watch, Dave Anderson captured the Pulitzer Prize in 1981 for sportswriting, and Joe also hired William C. Rhoden as one of the early Black columnists on a major American newspaper. Joe also brought columnist Ira Berkow into the fold, as well as Claire Smith, who became one of the first Black women sportswriters.
At a Silurians’ luncheon just before the pandemic, I was sitting with Joe. And as I watched his quiet demeanor, it suddenly hit me: I had never really thanked him for being such a great—no, maybe kind is a better word– boss.
But at that moment at the Silurians, I told him, “Joe, you were a great guy to work for. You were always considerate.” I remembered the time I had come back from a long road trip, and a story broke. I called him and volunteered to jump on it.
“No,” said Joe. “You deserve a rest. Just take it easy.”
And Joe also was the person who recommended me for a writer’s fellowship at Duke University. It was a luxurious gig in which half a dozen writers from around the country were at the school taking any subjects they wanted, schmoozing with faculty, giving lectures.
When one of the editors in the sports department suggested that while I was at Duke I should interview the acclaimed basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski, Joe vetoed it, saying, “Jerry’s not there to write for us. He’s there to enjoy himself.”
He never complained about the pressures of being under the steady, and often overly strong, gaze of A.M. Rosenthal and Arthur Gelb. But once, talking to a group of us informally gathered in his office, he admitted, “You have to swallow a lot sometimes.” If he did, he swallowed it so we didn’t have to.
Joe became a senior editor in October 1990 and stayed at the paper until retiring in 2001, when he began to work as a consultant, assisting the paper’s move to a new headquarters building in 2007.
He co-authored with Times reporter David W. Dunlap the book “Glory in Gotham: Manhattan’s House of Worship: A Guide to Their History, Architecture and Legacy” (2000) and edited “The New York Times Book of Sports Legends” (1992).
He leaves his wife, Elizabeth, whom he married in 1964, and daughters Elissa Vecchione Scott and Andrea Vecchione, and three grandchildren. And many friends, in and out of the sports department. — By Gerald Eskenazi
Lawrence (Larry) Malkin spent a long career as correspondent, editor, and author. He died April 19 at home in Manhattan of kidney failure. He was 91. His energy, curiosity, and loyalty to those he loved will be more than missed by his wife of 62 years Edith (nee Stark), his daughters, Elisabeth (Eduardo Garcia) and Victoria (David Mikics), his grandchildren, Eva, Gabriel and Ariel. He reported on the Six-Day War for The Associated Press and the 1978 Afghanistan Revolution for Time Magazine. His dispatches on the 1960s decline of the British economy won an Overseas Press Club award. He wrote from Paris, London, New Delhi, Madrid, and Washington. He later covered Wall Street for The International Herald Tribune. As editor, he worked with former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker on his memoir “Changing Fortunes.” He edited the memoir of Soviet Ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Dobrynin, “In Confidence,” one of New York Times’ ten best in 1995. He wrote “Krueger’s Men,” about the greatest counterfeit in history: The Nazis selected 140 Jewish prisoners to produce false pound notes in a concentration camp under SS orders. The book was translated into eight languages. Malkin worked with Stuart E. Eizenstat on “Imperfect Justice,” an account of recovering blocked Holocaust accounts, and on “President Carter.” He was born in Richmond Hill, Queens, son of David and Jennie. He is a 1951 graduate of Columbia University and a decorated veteran of the Korean War. His ashes will be placed in the citrus grove of the family’s house in Deia, on the Spanish island of Mallorca. — Published by New York Times on Apr. 24, 2022, https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/nytimes/name/lawrence-malkin-obituary?n=lawrence-malkin&pid=201867397
Pat Fenton, a prince of a man and a terrific journalist, author and playwright, died on Wednesday January 5 in Massapequa, Long Island. He was 80 years old.
For most of his adult life, Fenton was a freelance writer, doing his writing at night or on weekends because he needed a steady civil service job as a New York corrections officer for 26 years to support his family. His first job as a cargo handler at JFK actually led to his first writing break in 1973 when New York Magazine published his piece, “Confessions of A Working Stiff”. Fenton had also worked as a cab driver, bartender and radio host. Over the years his work appeared in The New York Times, the Daily News, Newsday, Irish-America magazine, the Irish Echo and other publications. Fenton’s writing has also been published in numerous writing anthologies including “The Irish, a Treasury of Art and Literature” and the “Book of Irish Americans.’
Last July Heliotrope Books published Fenton’s “Searching for Harry Chapin’s America”, a book about where Chapin got inspiration for his songs and writings. Fenton went on the road to discover where Chapin visited, from far flung bars, barber shops and bowling alleys to hotels, coffee shops, diners and nightclubs all across America. Fenton worked on the book on and off for nearly 20 years. In reviewing the book, novelist Peter Quinn wrote: “A portrait of an age as well as an artist. Chapin was an American original, combining Walt Whitman’s lyric realism with Woodie Guthrie’s passionate truth telling. Fenton’s blend of sympathy, honesty and insight give us the man in full. Fenton’s talents as a master storyteller have never been on better display.”
His first play, “Jack’s Last Call: Say Goodbye to Kerouac,” had two successful runs in Jack Kerouac’s hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts, and, after appearing at the Boston Playwright’s Theatre, was selected as one of the best New England plays of 2008. Recently, the play has been released on CD as a radio drama. It has been heard on over 70 public radio stations across the country and was nominated for an Audie Award, an annual award given by the Audio Publishers Association. Another play, “Stoopdreamer,” about Windsor Terrace, the Brooklyn working class neighborhood where he grew up, ran on Off Broadway in 2015.
Windsor Terrace and neighboring Park Slope turned out many fine journalists and writers over the years including Pete Hamill, his brothers Dennis, John and Brian and his sister, Kathleen Hamill Fischetti, Joe Flaherty, Tim Lee, Billy Powers, Charlie Monahan, Robert Murphy and, of course, Pat Fenton.
Fenton is survived by his wife, Patricia, a son Patrick, a daughter Kelly and several grandchildren. — By Jack Deacy
Herbert Hadad, a beloved Silurians board member and an award-winning writer, who specialized in the topics of family and the Middle East, died on November 6 at his home in Pocantico Hills, New York. He was 85.
“He loved being a Silurian and knowing all of you,” Evelyn Hadad, his wife, who accompanied him to Silurians events, wrote in a letter to board members. “He enjoyed the board meetings, the lunches, the interesting speakers and the camaraderie and stimulating conversation around the table. I would like to think he will still be attending, just spiritually instead of in person.”
Herbert was born October 6, 1936 in upper Manhattan to Syrian and Jewish parents. His family soon moved to Boston where he grew up in the neighborhoods of Dorchester and Roxbury. He attended Roxbury Memorial High School and graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Northeastern University. He would tell you that the education that set the course of his life, however, took place in his early twenties working as a copy boy in the newsroom of the Boston Globe and in the ring moonlighting as a featherweight boxer in dusty gyms across Boston.
Intoxicated with the thrill of writing and covering the news, he would achieve a celebrated career as a reporter, essayist, public relations representative, speech writer, and press officer. He was the author of two books, Finding Immortality: The Making of One American Family, and Tender and Tough: 60 Years of Storytelling. His essays appeared in publications including The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, Parenting, Reader’s Digest, Poets & Writers, and several anthologies. He worked as a reporter for The New York Times, New York Post, Boston Globe and the Keene Sentinel of New Hampshire. He won writing awards from the New York Press Club, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, Folio magazine and others.
Herbert had countless fascinating personal and professional tales along the way, but his most coveted adventure started in 1972 when he met Mary Evelyn Meekins in New York. They would marry in 1975, move to Tarrytown, New York, have three children, and then settle in Pocantico Hills where he lived for the last 40 years. His true dream was to be a father and family man. Many of his stories explore the pleasures and pains of marriage and fatherhood with humor, insight, and uncompromising honesty. He had an observational gift for reflecting on the multitude of life’s little wonders that take place every day, such as the uplifting conversation with a stranger in the park, the pleasure of waving to a passing train, or the investigation of his children’s questions on life. Much of his writing also explored the juxtaposition of his Arab and Jewish heritage. He was a fisherman, a marathoner, a romantic, a flirt, a joke teller, and a fighter who was quick to let you know if he felt he, his family, or his friends were being mistreated. He described himself as a tiger of a father who would do anything for his children, and all three would readily attest to that fact. He adored Evelyn, who was the secret hero in most of his stories. He lionized his parents from which he passed on many lessons, and he loved his country, his city, and a good martini. In fact, he was a founding member of the local Monday Night Martini Club.
He joined the 1972 presidential campaign of Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine as the deputy press secretary and spearheaded public relations for a fledgling educational children’s television program called Sesame Street. A character based on him named Herbert Birdsfoot appeared in a number of seasons. He taught writing at the Hudson Valley Writers Center in Sleepy Hollow where he also served on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee. He was a governor emeritus of the Silurians Press Club and was a founding board member of the Friends of the Rockefeller State Park Preserve. He also started a cable television program called On Writing with his friend Benjamin Cheever. As a capstone to his career, he proudly served 18 years as a press officer for the U.S. Department of Justice for the Southern District of New York for six U.S. Attorneys including Mary Jo White, James Comey, and Preet Bharara, and received several distinctions for his work.
Herbert’s family includes his wife Evelyn, his son Edward Hadad and wife Adlin and their children Evan and Willow of Croton-on-Hudson, NY, his son Charles Hadad and wife Alice and their daughter Maya of Brooklyn, NY, his daughter Sara Le Brusq and her son Damian of New York, NY, and his sister Sylvia Rosenberg of Newton, MA. In addition to his immediate family, he had a wide circle of in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews, friends, students, and colleagues he loved dearly. He was predeceased by his parents Morris and Norma Hadad of Boston and his brother Alvin Hadad of Oakland, CA.
Herbert revealed in his first book, “Finding Immortality,” that the title was chosen as a wish for his stories to live on after he was gone and, except for the names and places, for others to embrace the stories as their own. In the days preceding his passing, his family confirmed for him that not only would he achieve immortality through his stories on the page but also through the vivid memories, lessons, and appreciation from all those who loved him.
Judith Hole, who was with CBS News for some 50 years, the last 16 of which were as producer of “CBS Sunday Morning,” died June 17 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. The cause of death, according to a family member, was Creutzfeldt Jakob disease, a neurodegenerative condition. She was 81.
Hole joined CBS in 1962. She produced an extraordinarily wide range of shows, including documentaries, magazine-length stories, breaking news stories, live studio segments and live remote segments, and she worked with some of the network’s best-known broadcast journalists. She worked on CBS News broadcasts as varied as “Walter Cronkite’s Universe,” “CBS Reports,” “America Tonight,” and “CBS This Morning,” for which she produced the weekly, live, half-hour segment, “At Home With . . . ”
During her career, she worked with such luminaries as Walter Cronkite, Charles Kuralt, Charles Osgood, Harry Smith, Mike Wallace, Lesley Stahl, Rita Braver and Martha Teichner. She was on the faculty of Maine Media Workshops, teaching a course called “The Art of the Interview.” At CBS, she often did the same thing, having to prepare anchors and correspondents for interviews with subjects from presidents to proletariats, from villains to victims.
Hole went to the Hewitt School, an all-girls independent K-12 school in Manhattan, then moved on to a high school in Westchester. She attended Middlebury College in Vermont and received her degree from Southern Methodist University. In 1979, she married Sam Suratt, then the chief archivist for CBS. Suratt, who died in 2014, was a Princeton graduate who helped launch a mentoring project of the university’s AlumniCorps known as the Project 55 Fellowship Program. For years, the Suratts housed Project 55 summer interns in their home on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, mentored them with professional advice and introduced them to New York’s cultural scene.
Judith Bender, a long-time Silurian who reported on politics and power brokers for Newsday for more than 30 years, died May 8 in her apartment in Manhattan. She was 87 and died of natural causes, according to a family member.
Bender, a native of Queens, N.Y., was a graduate of the University of Michigan and Columbia University. She began her career in journalism at two newspapers in Albany, the Knickerbocker News and the Albany Times Union. In May 1969, she was hired by Newsday and remained there until retiring in July 2000. During the 1970s and 1980s, she was a reporter in the New York State bureau and then the Washington, D.C., bureau. She later served as an editor.
Anthony Marro, a now-retired Newsday editor, recalled Bender as not only “one of the very best reporters covering state government,” but said she was responsible for the first major story Newsday broke on the Watergate scandal of the 1970s. Bender got a tip that G. Gordon Liddy, an undercover operative who was close to President Richard M. Nixon, was deeply involved in the Watergate burglary, he said.
“[Bender] called me and told me about it and I tracked down Liddy, who was listed in the phone book,” said Marro. “He was very calm and polite and said, ‘Please don’t take this personally, but I have no intention of talking about this ever.’ So we did more reporting and then wrote a story saying he had been fired and was a target of the investigation.”
Later, Bender worked with Earl Lane, former deputy chief of Newsday’s Washington bureau as part of a team that produced a highly acclaimed series called “The Permanent Government.” It focused on key non-elected Washington insiders who helped influence government policy and operations in the 1980s.
“She was someone who was widely respected in the newsroom,” said Rita Ciolli, who worked with Bender in Washington and is now editor of Newsday’s Editorial and Opinion pages. “She was one of the few early women who had very important reporting jobs.”
Ciolli said Bender was noted for the thoroughness of her research and the ability to dig for details, qualities that allowed her to handle the kind of assignments that ordinarily would fall on teams of reporters.
“She drove everybody crazy because she asked a lot of questions,” said Jim Klurfeld, retired chief of Newsday’s Albany and Washington bureaus, who worked with Bender for years. “But she’s the person you wanted there as the last person to see the copy before it went to press.”
Rosalind Massow, a reporter, editor and author who began her professional life as a copy girl at the New York Journal-American in the 1950s and went on to become an award-winning reporter, an editor of Parade magazine and president of the Newswomen’s Club of New York, died on May 5 at her home in Manhattan. She was 99.
Massow became a general assignment reporter at the Journal-American and won several Front Page Awards from the Newswomen’s Club, including one in 1960 for a series on anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. She was the women’s editor at Parade from 1963 until 1970. From 1964 to 1966, while at Parade, she was president of the Newswomen’s Club. That club is now also 99 years old.
A native New Yorker, Massow was a graduate of Hunter High School and Hunter College.
In 1959, she married Dr. Norton Luger, a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Cornell University Medical School and a president of the Queens County Medical Society. He died in 2007, but not before they had traveled to more than 30 countries, trips that led Massow to write two books, “Now It’s Your Turn to Travel” in 1976 and “Travel Easy: The Practical Guide for People Over 50” in 1985.
Charles Strum, a senior editor at The New York Times, whose calm demeanor and dry sense of humor eased the tension created by many an ominous deadline, and who could improve other people’s copy with supreme skill, died of brain cancer on April 27 in a nursing home in Middlebury, Vt. He was 73 and lived in nearby Weybridge, Vt.
In his 35 years at The Times, Strum filled a variety of roles, among them assistant metropolitan editor, New Jersey bureau chief, editor of the weekly New Jersey section, deputy national editor, obituaries editor and associate managing editor. Known to every one as Chuck, he was born in Manhattan, graduated from Dickinson College in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in history, and began his career as a journalist at The Hudson Dispatch in Union City, N.J. A year later, he was hired by The Record of Bergen County, N.J., where he was a reporter and an editor until 1976, when he joined Newsday as an assistant news editor. Three years later, he joined The Times as a copy editor.
In 1990, he and five Times reporters collaborated on “Outrage: The Story Behind the Tawana Brawley Hoax,” a book about the infamous case of an African-American teenager who falsely claimed to have been kidnapped and gang-raped by four white men in 1987.
Strum retired in 2014 and became an editor at The Marshall Project, a nonprofit journalism site that focused on criminal justice. For Strum, it was a reunion of sorts. His boss was Bill Keller, the site’s founding editor-in-chief and a former executive editor of The Times.
“Some editors edited stories; Chuck edited writers,” Keller told The Times following Strum’s death. “He made them better. At the start, being a start-up, we had some writers who had more promise than practice. Chuck didn’t just fix their stories, he helped them grow.”
Jane Furse, whose Texas twang, sophisticated style and abundance of energy made her a distinctive presence in the newsrooms of The New York Post and The New York Daily News, died on April 25 of ovarian cancer. She was 64.
Furse was born in Houston and raised on her family’s ranch in Bay City, Tex., about 80 miles away. She attended The Hockaday School, a girls’ prep school in Dallas, and went on to Wellesley College, graduating in 1979 with a BA in historiography, the study of writing history.
As part of the rewrite desks of two of the nation’s best-known tabloids, Furse was admired by her colleagues for the speed, accuracy and calmness with which she treated their reports from the field. Her duties consisted of taking phone calls from reporters, her Texas drawl a clear counterpoint to the grittier urban accents of her colleagues as they fed her the details of whatever story they were covering. Furse would ask them questions, dig for further details and weave everything into a single cohesive article — often in the face of looming deadlines. At the Post, she frequently worked with legendary crime reporter Mike Pearl, but handled stories about many other subjects, from airplane disasters to such oddball events as the National Chihuahua Race. In 1995, she left the Post and joined the News, where she spent the rest of her career.
Carl Spielvogel, who rose from humble beginnings in Brooklyn to forge formidable careers in advertising as chairman and chief executive officer of Ted Bates Worldwide, the world’s third largest ad agency, and in journalism, as the author of a six-day-a-week column at The New York Times, died on April 21 at a hospital in Manhattan. He was 92.
In addition to his business accomplishments, Spielvogel served for eight months in 2000 and 2001 as ambassador to Slovakia during the Clinton Administration. At the time of his appointment, he was running his own global investment and marketing company, Carl Spielvogel Enterprises, which he launched in 1997 and ran until 2009.
A reserved but amiable man, Spielvogel kept himself fit and was an avid tennis player into his 80s, often displaying the same kind of competitive fire on the court that he showed in board rooms. He attended public schools in Brooklyn, graduating with honors from Boys High School before taking courses at night at the City College School of Business, now known as the Baruch School of Business. He was hired as a copy boy by The Times in 1950, was awarded his BBA degree in 1953, then left The Times for two years in the U.S. Army. Following his discharge in 1955, Spielvogel returned to The Times as a financial news reporter and two years later he was named advertising columnist, a position that made his work must-reading in the advertising and marketing business and turned Spielvogel into a media celebrity.
In 1960, Spielvogel followed a path taken by many journalists, leaving his columns and The Times for the world of public relations. He was hired as a PR man by Marion Harper Jr., a well-known ad man who was president of McCann-Erickson and who later built Interpublic, McCann’s parent company. In 1972, after rising through the executive ranks, Spielvogel became Interpublic’s vice chairman, resigning from the company in 1979 when he was passed over for the job of chairman.
What followed was the extraordinary partnership between Spielvogel and a former colleague named Bill Backer, who had recently resigned as vice chairman of McCann-Erickson, Interpublic’s largest agency and one of Spielvogel’s employers early in his career. In short order, Backer & Spielvogel was in business. It would be something new in the ad game: a superagency, big in talent but small in scale. It went on to achieve stunning success with blue-chip clients such as Miller beer, Coca-Cola and Campbell’s Soup and it became legendary on Madison Avenue. It was eventually sold, going to Saatchi & Saatchi in 1986 for more than $100 million. In 1987, it merged with Ted Bates Worldwide. Spielvogel became chairman and ceo of the new firm, Backer Spielvogel Bates Worldwide, serving from 1987 to 1994.
Mike Santangelo, who worked for Fox News for 25 years and had one of the most unusual writing assignments in the news business, died on April 12 after suffering complications from a fall. He was 80 and died at NYU Langone Hospital-Long Island in Mineola.
Santangelo’s words — summaries of the day’s top stories — appeared on an LED display he called The Big Zipper. At 163 feet in length and 28 inches high, it runs across the facade of Fox News headquarters at 1211 Sixth Avenue, a 45-story building at the corner of 48th Street. Each item Santangelo wrote was roughly no more than 50 words — or, as described in a New York Times profile in 2005, no longer than it might take someone to walk a city block. Santangelo turned out about 35 items a day.
One aspect of his job many journalists might envy was that he had no editor. Another was that he was the sole arbiter of which items made it to The Big Zipper.
As befits a fellow who favored loud ties, Hush Puppies and linen suits, Santangelo’s nomadic news items were often preceded by lead-ins that were as colorful, clever and catchy as any headline splashed across the front page of any tabloid. News of a volatile day on Wall Street, for example, might be headlined “Dow But Not Out.” The lead-in to story of a four-star general who was fired: “Ain’t That a Kick in the Brass.”
Before joining Fox in 1996, Santangelo practiced more conventional forms of journalism. He was a reporter at The New York Daily News for 20 years, leaving in 1990 as a casualty of a newspaper strike. For the next six years, he worked for Reuters, UPI and Newsday, where he was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the crash of TWA Flight 800 off Long Island.
William Condie was a veteran reporter and editor who started his career as a newspaperman in his native Glasgow in 1955, then served on publications in Buenos Aires, London and Florida before moving to New York, where he held news-editing positions at The Daily News and The Post. He was 86 and living in Florida when he died in West Palm Beach on Dec. 3, following kidney failure.
Condie was born in Airdrie, Lanarkshire, a town in Scotland’s lowlands industrial belt, on Feb. 28, 1934. A year later, he and his family moved to Glasgow, about 12 miles away. He would have begun school in 1939, but the bombing raids brought on by World War II meant thousands of civilians had to be evacuated from port cities such as Glasgow and moved to safer areas. Condie was one of them.
After living with relatives in a less-threatened part of Scotland, the family returned to Glasgow in 1942. After the war, Condie was drafted into the Royal Navy Corps d’Elite for two years. Interested in languages since he was a teenager, he learned Russian and was stationed in Germany, where his duties included monitoring Soviet radio communications.
In 1955, when Condie started his newspaper career in Glasgow, he learned more than how to be a reporter. He also became adept at editing copy and writing headlines as well as learning newspaper design and layout.
He went abroad in 1961, working for three years as night editor of the English-language Buenos Aires Herald. Next came London for a year before moving to the United States in 1965 and worked for three years as an editor at the National Enquirer in Florida. For the next 20-odd years, he worked for The News and The Post in New York. In 1991, he returned to Florida and rejoined The Enquirer until semi-retiring in 1995.
In his junior high school’s senior yearbook, it says that Jack Schwartz “a journalist will be/We know he’ll make it, wait and see.” It was, in the most definitive of ways, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Schwartz, who was the editor of his senior yearbook, wrote the words himself, and “make it” he did. He became a newspaperman for almost 50 years, distinguishing himself at six metropolitan dailies as well as one in Europe, as a reporter and columnist but mostly as an editor, with a focus on books and culture. Schwartz, who died on Feb. 16 of complications brought on by the Covid 19 virus, was 82.
His honors include a Neiman fellowship from Harvard (1971) and an International Affairs fellowship at Columbia (1972). In 2005, when he retired from The New York Times, where he spent the bulk of his career, he began giving back. He taught a Master’s Project course at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and was a mentor at the Writers Institute of the CUNY Graduate Center. He also taught copy editing at NYU. He was a 1959 graduate of City College of New York and a member of its Communications Alumni Group’s Hall of Fame.
At CCNY, Schwartz majored in English and was editor-in-chief of The Campus, the student newspaper. While still a student, he got his first jobs in journalism: copy boy at the Daily Mirror, then at the New York Post. Shortly after graduation, he joined the Long Island Press as a reporter, then went over to Newsday as a reporter and columnist. In 1973, he joined The Times and filled a variety of editing roles on the Week in Review, the Sunday Magazine, the Culture Section, the Arts & Leisure pages and the Metro Desk. Schwartz left The Times in 1988 and rejoined Newsday, this time as book editor. After seven years, he moved to the Daily News as book editor before rejoining The Times as assistant editor at the Weekend section, in addition to working on the daily culture pages. He remained there until he retired in 2005. And somewhere in the middle of that, he even enjoyed a short stint as an editor at the International Herald-Tribune in Paris.
Post-retirement, he freelanced articles for the Daily Beast and The Times of Israel, among others, and in 2015 he wrote about all of it in a memoir, “The Fine Print: My Life as a Deskman.”
Stephen Stoneburn, a former reporter and editor who took on a variety of roles for almost 20 years with Fairchild Publications before leaving to launch a multimedia company now known as Frontline Medical Communications, died Jan. 11 of esophageal cancer. He was 77.
A native New Yorker and a graduate of New York University, Stoneburn was a reporter and editor who became a senior vice president at Fairchild, his employer from 1970 to 1989. His accomplishments at Fairchild included heading the Paris bureau; overseeing Daily News Record, a publication covering the men’s wear industry; running Fairchild News Service, then a global network of business journalists; starting Sportstyle, a publication focusing on sporting goods; and spearheading the launch of W magazine in Europe.
After leaving Fairchild and returning to the U.S., he worked for Miller Freeman, then a publisher of trade magazines, and founded Quadrant Media as president and chief executive officer in 1996. By 2012, Quadrant had become Frontline Medical Communications, a multimedia company whose scores of publications and digital newsletters reach millions of readers in the healthcare industry. Stoneburn was chairman and ceo.
Ray Brady, a longtime Silurian and a prize-winning CBS News correspondent, died Jan. 12 at his home in Manhattan after a lengthy illness. He was 94.
A genial fellow with a shock of snow-white hair, Brady was a frequent presence at Silurian lunches and dinners along with his wife, Mary, who died in 2018. He began his 28-year career with the network when he joined CBS Radio in 1972 to host its “Today in Business” segment. In 1977, he became a familiar face on television as a correspondent for “CBS Evening News,” a post he filled until retiring in 2000. On that occasion, Andrew Heyward — then president of CBS News — hailed Brady for “his powerful sense of integrity, his genuine interest in the people he met along the way, and his unflagging passion for the next story.”
Brady covered such major news developments as the 1987 stock market crash in the U.S. and the crises created by the mix of oil and politics in the Middle East. He also wrote for CBS News’ “MarketWatch” financial website and was a contributor to “CBS Sunday Morning.” Shortly before he retired, Brady served as interim host for PBS’s “Wall Street Week.” He earned an Emmy in 1982 for a series of “Evening News” reports on unemployment amid the recession.
Brady was born in Philadelphia and raised in New Jersey. He served in the Navy during World War II and graduated from Fordham University in 1948 before launching his journalism career at New Jersey’s Long Branch Daily Record newspaper. Before joining CBS, he worked at Forbes, Barron’s and Dun’s Review.