Tag Archives: Obituaries

Joe Ward

Former Louisville biz reporter Ward dies at 71


Joe Ward, a labor reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal, died Thursday at the age of 71 from multiple myeloma.

Andrew Wolfson of the Courier-Journal writes, “He joined The Courier-Journal in 1968 and over the years wrote hundreds of stories about strikes, burley prices and the never-ending search by farmers for a cash crop alternative to tobacco. He always tried to make them entertaining.

“In a 2000 article, he wrote, ‘An alpaca looks a bit like a sheep whose neck has been stretched and whose ancestors were maybe overly friendly with camels.’

“The next year, he began a story about vermiculture this way:

“‘Poet e.e. Cummings wrote about his Uncle Sol, a farmer who couldn’t make any money raising vegetables, chickens or skunks, so he drowned himself in a farm tank, went down in his coffin and started a worm farm. As tobacco allotments shrink and commodity prices drop,’ Ward’s story continued, ‘some Kentucky farmers are identifying with Uncle Sol more than they’d like to. Some are even starting worm farms, though not in their coffins.’

“Ward was assigned to the newspaper’s Bluegrass bureau in 1969 and rose to bureau chief, supervising five reporters.

“Retired former managing editor Stephen Ford said, ‘As a reporter, Joe was painstakingly accurate and scrupulously fair, and as a bureau chief, he was a generous and wise leader for less experienced journalists.’”

Read more here.


Arkanas business journalist dies at 55


Patricia Ann May, the former editor of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal, died last week at the age of 55.

Jan Cottingham of Arkanas Business writes, “She was a 1976 graduate of Harrison High School and a 1980 graduate of the University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. In 1988 she earned a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

“May was a reporter for the Springdale News and the Northwest Arkansas Times in the 1980s. While she pursued her graduate studies at Northwestern, she was a reporter for the American Banker in Chicago and Washington.

“On returning to Arkansas, she was a business reporter for the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and Fayetteville and the Morning News in Springdale. She was also executive editor of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. During her years working as a market analyst she continued freelance writing for the Arkansas Catholic.”

Read more here.

Mary Radigan

Longtime Michigan retail reporter dies at 66


Mary Radigan, a longtime retail reporter for the Grand Rapids Press in Michigan, died Friday due to complications from a stroke. She was 66.

Shandra Martinez of MLive.com writes, “One of the state’s best known retail reporters, Radigan covered the movers and shakers in the industry from Hy Berkowitz,  whose Rogers was famous as one of the few locally owned department stores remaining in Michigan to Fred and his son Hank Meijer who are legends in supercenter retailing.

“Radigan earned their respect by chronicling the ups and downs of the business.

“When Meijer was going through some dramatic layoffs at its headquarters, Radigan headed over to the parking lot to look for employees to interview. She was sitting in her SUV on the bitterly cold morning, when she saw Fred Meijer walk by and waved. She invited him to climb in her warm car where they talked about the layoffs.

“Much to the chagrin of the company’s public relations department, Fred Meijer shared what a hard time it was for the family business, recalls Nancy Crawley, former Press business editor.

“‘Meijer corporate PR, which wanted to control the flow of information, was furious when they found out, but Fred didn’t care,’ said Crawley. ‘He trusted Mary to tell the story straight and of course she did.’

“Hank Meijer, who worked for the Press before joining the family grocery business, said he appreciated Radigan’s mix of curiosity, sincerity and scrupulous skepticism that distinguish a talented reporter.”

Read more here.

Al Goldberg

Ex-Toledo Blade biz editor dies


Albert Goldberg, a former business editor of the Toledo Blade in Ohio, died Thursday at the age of 75.

Mark Zaborney of The Blade writes, “He was hired to the Blade’s news staff in 1967 and, after a stint as a general assignment reporter, covered federal court and city hall. The newspaper heralded him in a promotional ad.

“‘Al Goldberg, Blade staff writer, keeps a close eye on your city government. Attending scores of meetings and asking a lot of questions, he acts as your proxy,’ the ad said, under the reporter’s photograph. “You don’t have time to do it. So let Al Goldberg keep you informed …’

“In the early 1970s, he reported from The Blade’s Columbus bureau. As business editor for five years, he continued to report and write.

“‘He was a good reporter. That’s the best thing I can say about him,’ said Joe O’Conor, a retired Blade managing editor. ‘Persistent. Very diligent. Worked at his trade. Just a good newspaperman.’

“If not speedy, he was thorough. ‘If you told him to do something, you knew he would get it done,’ Mr. O’Conor said.

“Some stories were constructed so carefully that editors found them difficult to cut, said Edson Whipple, also a former managing editor.”

Read more here.


1984 BusinessWeek

Former BusinessWeek managing editor Dierdorff dies


Jack Dierdorff, who was managing editor of BusinessWeek magazine and worked at the McGraw-Hill publication for 37 years, has died.

Former BusinessWeek editor in chief Stephen Shepard wrote on his Facebook page that Dierdorff died Thursday after a long illness.

“He was a close colleague at Business Week for many years, a committed journalist who cared deeply abut his craft and about the magazine,” said Shepard. ”I last saw him in March, when I spoke at the Coffee House in New York, where he was a long-time member and a regular for lunch.”

After Dierdorff retired from the magazine in 1993, he continued to work, including a stint as a consulting editor for BusinessWeek Online.

It was Dierdorff who in 1987  testified that when McGraw-Hill suspected a leak of the “Inside Wall Street” column, it investigated its security procedures.  It directed Donnelley, which printed the magazine, to review its security procedures, and as a result, the plant enhanced those measures.

Dierdorff received the 1992 Elliot Bell Award from the New York Financial Writers’ Association. The award is named in honor of its founding president to an outstanding journalist for a significant long-term contribution to the profession of financial journalism.

James Russell

Longtime Miami Herald biz columnist Russell dies


James Russell, who wrote a financial column for the Miami Herald for 42 years, has died at the age of 91.

Elinor Brecher of The Herald writes, “James Russell, a seasoned wire-service reporter when he arrived at the Miami Herald in 1957, used to tell this story about how shortly thereafter, he became the newspaper’s financial editor and columnist.

“Then-Managing Editor George Beebe called Russell to his office, where he found Al Neuharth, assistant managing editor. Neuharth, who’d go on to chair the Gannett media empire, told Russell that he wanted him to write about money and business.

“‘Surprised is not the right word,’’ Russell wrote in a 2003 memoir. ‘I was stunned. I said, ‘You know, I barely know the difference between a stock and a bond.’’’

“That didn’t seem to matter to the editors, who wanted someone with solid reporting skills who could explain finance to ordinary people.

“Russell evolved into a respected voice in the South Florida financial community and a prescient analyst of national trends.

“In his final column for the Herald on Nov. 29, 1998, he wrote about what would come to be called the ‘dot-com bubble,’ which burst two years later.”

Read more here.
John J. Curran

Fortune colleagues remember John Curran


There are some nice quotes from Fortune journalists Carol Loomis and Bethany McLean about their former colleague, John Curran, who died last week at the age of 59, in the obituary on WestportNow.com.

Here they are:

Carol Loomis of Fortune, the longest serving employee in the history of Time Inc. and a highly awarded financial journalist, recalls of Curran: “I had the double pleasure of working with John when he was a brand-new, smart, hard-working reporter, and then seeing him rise to editing, where I particularly remember his putting a revised, improved beginning on one of my derivatives stories that might actually have encouraged somebody to read it.”

Author Bethany McLean, who, as a Fortune journalist, gained fame by first exposing the financial underpinnings of Enron as a shell game, recalled Curran’s influence at the beginnings of her career.

“I’ll never forget going to John in my very early days at Fortune and telling him that I didn’t think I should be a journalist, because I didn’t like making those tough phone calls that some stories require. He said, ‘Bethany, most of us don’t like making them. You don’t have to like it. All that matters is whether you do it or not. ‘  I swear, I think about that all the time in life as well as my work.”

Read more here. Curran was working at Bloomberg News when he died.


Bloomberg News editor Curran dies at 59


John J. Curran, a Bloomberg News editor who previously was a longtime journalist at Fortune and editor of Mutual Funds magazine, has died. He was 59.

Charles Stevens of Bloomberg writes, “In a career spanning more than three decades in New York, Curran wrote and edited stories on investing, banking, Wall Street and regulation. He also reported and oversaw coverage about international economics. In 1988, while at Fortune, a Time Inc. publication, he received an Overseas Press Club award for his reporting on Japan.

“In 2001, Curran received a Time Inc. Luce Award for commissioning and publishing a story on the threat of global terrorism reaching the U.S. — six months before the Sept. 11 attack that year on the World Trade Center in New York.

“‘John was the consummate dedicated professional who never took the cheap route to a conclusion or a story,’ John Huey, a colleague and former Time Inc. editor-in-chief, said in an e-mail. ‘He had the toughness and mindset of a prosecutor, but to him everyone really was innocent until proven guilty. And he infused that ethic into several generations of journalists who worked for him.’

“Curran, who began his journalism career at the Wall Street Transcript, spent the bulk of his working life at Fortune, starting in 1978. As an executive editor, he ran the magazine’s investing coverage and was responsible for producing its special guides to investing and retirement.”

Read more here.

Jason Sheftell

NY Daily News real estate writer dies


Jason Sheftell, a prolific real estate reporter for the New York Daily News, died this weekend at the age of 46.

Edgar Sandoval and Corky Siemaszko of The Daily News write, “‘He had an enthusiasm and a zest for life that was infectious,’ Myler said. ‘He was probably the most popular guy in the newsroom  everybody loved him because he was always there when you needed him.’

“Sheftell’s ‘dedication to his role as a real estate reporter was legendary,’ Myler added.

“‘He will leave a void that will never be filled in the Daily News family,’ he said. ‘To use his own phrase when his father passed a couple of years ago: ‘He was a good man, with a great heart, and that’s all we can ask of anyone’.’

“Sheftell had been expected at a family gathering over the weekend and when he failed to show his worried kin called The News.

“A Daily News reporter dispatched to Sheftell’s home arrived on the heels of the reporter’s old friend, Kyle Carmon, who had a key to the apartment and found his friend dead.”

Read more here.


Biz reporter Stanley Cohen dies at 93


Stanley Cohen, the longtime Washington editor of Advertising Age, died earlier this month at the age of 93.

A story on the National Press Club website states, “An elevator ride away from the Club was Cohen’s Advertising Age office, where he was the Washington editor from 1943-1984. He retired as a corporate vice president of Crain Communications, the publisher of Advertising Age, in 1987.

“At Cohen’s Washington funeral, Rance Crain, the editor-in-chief of Advertising Age, praised Cohen for courageously advocating for truth in advertising. He said it influenced Crain’s attitude towards business journalism.

“Known as the dean of consumer journalism for his award-winning coverage of excessive or false advertising claims, Cohen’s articles and editorial columns resulted in the creation of an advertising-industry-sponsored review panel that self-regulated commercials, said Rick Gordon, who worked with Cohen for 10 years.

“‘Stan taught me lessons about thoroughness, about integrity, about perseverance and what high standards in journalism really are,’ Gordon said.”

Read more here.