Thursday, June 22, 2017

A BJ farewell to Larry Froelich

Former BJ reporter Jim Ricci, a Los Angeles Times retiree, crossed the country to attend Larry Froelich’s memorial June 20 in Lexington, Kentucky, where Larry lived with wife Suzanne Dolezal Froelich.

Larry Froelich
Another former Steubenville resident and BJ reporter, Charles Montague, also was there, but from much-closer Akron.

Montague wrote:

“I asked him why he had made such a long and expensive journey to attend memorial and he said, ‘Hey, this is Fro’

“That sums up why I went, too, and really says it all about Larry.

“Another Akron guy from past who was there was Steve Ferrer, who did PR for Goodrich -- I think; wasn't taking notes. (Hope I am spelling his last name right.) He said Fro was best labor reporter he ever encountered.”

Jim Ricci
Unfortunately, Paula Tucker and I were cruising down the river – the Illinois River out of Peoria – and couldn’t make it to Larry’s memorial.

Except in spirit.

Larry passed away June 5 in the Akron area.

Froelich grew up in Dover, Ohio and is an Ohio University graduate.

In 1970, he was part of the Beacon Journal team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Kent State massacre, in which Ohio National Guardsmen shot and killed four unarmed students and wounded nine others, including some who were not part of the protest as bullets were sprayed everywhere.

Larry is survived by his wife, Suzanne; three children, Mark (Christa) Froelich, Britta (Marc) Spanke, and Eric (Stephanie) Froelich; and five grandchildren, Jack, Halle, Lindsay, Clare and Robert. 

He will be buried later in Dover.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Thrity reading of her novel June 20 in Hudson

Although former BJ reporter Thrity Umrigar is doing readings of her latest novel, “Everybody’s Son,” around the nation, the closest reading in the Akron area will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 20 in the Hudson Public Library.

Thrity writes: “It would be nice to see some of my old peeps.”

Thrity began her reporting career with the Lorain Journal. Two years later, in 1987, she came to the BJ.

Thrity has been teaching creative writing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland since 2002.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Time slashing 300 jobs

Time, Inc., which publishes Time, Sports Illustrated and Fortune, is eliminating 300 jobs.

This on the heels of a Meredith Corp. offer to buy time in April failed because the price was too low and activist hedge fund Jana Partners sold its substantial stake in Time, Inc.

Magazines, like newspapers, are losing circulation and advertisers to the Internet.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Larry Froelich obituary

Former BJ reporter Larry Froelich’s widow, Suzanne Dolezal Froelich, provided his obituary. They lived in Lexington, Kentucky.

Larry Froelich
Larry’s first wife was former BJ reporter Janis Froelich, who lives in Tierra Verde, Florida (near St. Petersburg) with her husband, St. Petersburg photographer Ray Bassett.

Larry fell and passed away June 4 in Ohio. His memorial service will be June 20 in Lexington.

Larry’s obituary:

Larry Norman Froelich died at age 77 on June 5, 2017 after a sudden accident. He worked at the Beacon Journal as a reporter and editor from 1968 until 1980. He was a police reporter, labor writer and business editor.

Froelich grew up in Dover, Ohio and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University. After college, he attended U.S. Army Officer Candidate School in Fort Benning, GA, and served two years as an Army Public Information Officer there.

As a Beacon Journal police reporter, he worked with the Akron police to design a successful anti-crime program that later inspired the national Neighborhood Watch program.

In 1970, he was part of the Beacon Journal team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Kent State massacre, in which Ohio National Guardsmen shot and killed four unarmed students protesting the Vietnam War.

In 1980, he moved to the Detroit Free Press, where he worked as assistant copy desk chief and assistant news editor for a decade.

In 1990, he moved to Lexington, where he served as news editor until he retired in 2005. “Larry was the engine of the newsroom after 4 p.m.,” said Will Scott, Herald-Leader copy editor. “He sometimes came across as gruff, but he really was warm, gentle and witty. He set a high bar for the paper, and any story that didn't meet his standard didn't get printed until it was made right.”

In retirement Froelich pursued his lifelong passion for learning, taking a wide range of courses through the University of Kentucky’s Donovan Scholars Program. His special interests were military history and science.

Froelich maintained enduring friendships with many who shared his journey through life, but his greatest source of pride was his loving family.

He is survived by his wife, Suzanne; three children, Mark (Christa) Froelich, Britta (Marc) Spanke, and Eric (Stephanie) Froelich; and five grandchildren, Jack, Halle, Lindsay, Clare and Robert. 

There will be a memorial service in Lexington on June 20 and there will be a private burial later in the summer in Dover. Memorial donations may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or the Lexington Humane Society.

Suzanne's email is

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Snell’s amazing comeback

 Former BJ Roger Snell thinks he finally has a handle on his health problems.

Roger Snell
Roger lives in Frankfurt, Kentucky with wife Linda and daughters Rachel and Hannah and administers a marketing program called Kentucky Proud that helps farmers transition away from tobacco and find retail markets for alternative crops such as fruits, vegetables and more.

 For more than two years his immune system attacked his cerebellum and brain stem and stopped his breathing when he felt asleep. He was “on death’s doorstep,” as Roger put it.

He found a doctor who rebuilds an immune system after cancer and chemo without prescriptions but with vitamins, minerals, nutriets and diet.

In four days, Roger reports, the holistic plan stopped 30 days of dehydration and serious stomach problems. Within seven days, a body-wide rash that has been with him for years quit itching. In 10 days, the rash began healing. In 14 days, it “virtually disappeared” and Roger’s sugar readings dropped so low that he stopped his diabetes medications he had been taking for 8 years.

Roger reports: “I went from bedridden to wheelchair to walker in three weeks.” Now Roger is using only walking sticks.

Snell won a number of awards throughout his 18-year newspaper career, including the Silver Gavel, the American Bar Association’s top national journalism award, in 1992 for his investigation of ethical abuses on the Ohio Supreme Court. The Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers named Snell the Ohio Reporter of the Year in 1992 and 1993.
PD reporter Dave Roberts passes away

Dave Roberts, 99, who once was a reporter in the Akron bureau of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, passed away Thursday, June 1.

Later, the Kent State graduate and wife Lyla F. Roberts operated a commercial photography business in Barlow, Florida before returning to Kent in 1955.

Dave’s obituary:

David W. Roberts

David W. Roberts, of Kent, Ohio, died late Thursday, June 1, 2017, at age 99.

He was born in Glouster, Ohio on January 2, 1918 and lived in Kenmore, Ohio from ages 9 to 14, before moving back home, and graduating from Glouster High School in 1936, where he was Class President, and played for the football team.

Later, he moved to Akron, and was a cub reported for the Cleveland Plain Dealer-Akron Bureau. Dave covered the city of Kent and Kent State University while attending Kent State. After Pearl Harbor, Dave volunteered for the Army Air Corp as an Aviation Cadet. He later married Lyla F. Leever, whom he met in Kent, Ohio. For several years following the war, he worked with Lyla to establish a commercial photography business at Barlow, Florida. In 1955, they returned to Kent.

Dave was a long-time cancer survivor, and did an amazing job overcoming his vision and hearing difficulties. He was an avid gardener, and fitness enthusiast. All who got to know Dave were enriched by his perspective on life. Dave passed away due to complications with his heart. He donated his body for study to the Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown, Ohio.

Dave was preceded in death by Lyla F. Roberts (wife); David M. Roberts (father); Edna Roberts (step-mother); Bertha M. Roberts (mother).

We will be celebrating Dave’s life at “Ode to Joy” at the Kent Garden

Club, on Saturday, June 17 from 10 to 12 p.m. The address is 480 Ravenna Rd., Streetsboro, OH 44241, at the corner of Ravenna Road and Seasons Road. In lieu of flowers, please bring a memory of him to share.

Friday, June 09, 2017

June 20 memorial for Larry Froelich

The memorial service for former BJ editor/reporter Larry Froelich will be June 20 in Lexington, Kentucky, where he lived with wife Suzanne Dolezal Froelich.

He was cremated Thursday in Ohio. He will be buried in Dover near his parents.

Suzanne remains in Ohio attending to details connected with Larry’s passing.

Larry’s first wife, former BJ reporter Janis Froelich, will be busy. She’ll be driving to Michigan next week for her son Jack’s high school graduation, then heading for Kentucky for Larry’s memorial.

His obituary has not been published yet.

Larry, who was battling leukemia, fell during an Ohio visit and struck his head Sunday, June 4.

1964 Ohio University graduate Larry began with Knight in 1967 at the BJ as a police reporter, followed managing editor Scott Bosley to the Detroit Free Press in 1981 where he became assistant news editor before going to the Lexington News-Leader in 1989 and retiring in 2005.

Larry Froelich has a son, Mark, who graduated from Kent State and is married to Bowling Green grad Christa. Their children are Jack and Lindsay.

Larry has a daughter, Britta, married to Michigan State grad Marc Spanke. Their children are Halle and Clare.

Janis is Mark and Britta’s mother.

Janis is married to St. Petersburg photographer Ray Bassett.

Today is the 16th wedding anniversary for Maura McEnaney and Ken Krause, who live in Medford, Massachusetts after their BJ days.

They did the deed in Medford’s St. Raphael Church.

Ken’s love note to Maura: “Seems like yesterday.”

It’s a long way from Ken’s days in the Copley Athletic Assocation H League baseball in 1967.

Or his days as BJ sports editor.

Ken is an Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary High School graduate. He has five siblings.

Syracuse University graduate Maura works for Fidelity Investments in Boston, which is where I keep some of my financial assets.

During more than three decades as a BJ business writer and editor Maura was on the BJ team that won a Pulitzer Gold Medal for its “A Question of Color” about race relations in the Akron area. She left the BJ for Boston in 2000 and later worked for Bloomberg News.

Ken and Maura wound up in Medford because Maura has a lot of family in the Boston area.

The late BJ Features editor and pet columnist Connie Bloom did an art quilt for Maura as a Christmas gift for Ken of the late Belle, a lab mix that Maura found tied to a fence in Firestone Park in Akron years ago. It was the first Christmas in 20 years without a dog in the Ken and Maura household.

Connie also she did a memorial quilt art for BJ reporter Kim McMahan’s late daughter, Brooke McMahan. I have one of Connie’s remarkable art quilts (“Help”) hanging on the wall between our Tallmadge kitchen and dining area.

Maura authored “Willard Garvey: An Epic Life.” Garvey built homes in the USA, South America and Asia for people with low incomes, is owner-operator of the “world’s largest” grain elevator, is the “largest private landowner in Nevada” and builder of Kansas’s tallest building—the Epic Center with its slanted copper roof.

Monday, June 05, 2017

The kid from Dennison and the kid from Dover are together again in the Newsroom in the Sky.

The Dover guy, Larry Froelich, who was battling leukemia, fell during an Ohio visit and struck his head Sunday, June 4. Former wife Janis Froelich, a former BJ reporter, relayed the news to BJ folks.

The Dennison guy was Harry Liggett, the late founder of the BJ Alums blog.

As Larry recalled on the blog when Harry passed away:
I'll miss you, old friend. We shared common ground during our youth, you in Dennison and me in Dover. We'd reminisce about the old Dover Reporter and the Dennison paper where we lost our journalistic baby teeth. I'm just so sorry I never got up your way during these last couple months to see you. Rest in peace, Harry.”

You rest in peace, too, Larry.

Larry’s widow is Suzanne Dolezal Froelich. They lived in Lexington, Kentucky, Larry’s final newspaper and Knight-Ridder career stop.
1964 Ohio University graduate Larry began with Knight in 1967 at the BJ as a police reporter, followed managing editor Scott Bosley to the Detroit Free Press in 1981 where he became assistant news editor before going to the Lexington News-Leader in 1989 and retiring in 2005.

Larry’s Dover Reporter editor was Harry Yockey, father of Nancy Yockey Bonar. While visiting Harry Yockey in his Dover office, Harry told Larry that the Dover job was his old job was his for the taking since Larry was ending his military career.
Larry told Harry that he wanted to work for the BJ. So Yockey called BJ publisher Ben Maidenberg while Larry sat in Harry’s office and Ben hired Larry sight unseen.
Maidenberg was like that. I owe the revival of my newpaper career to Ben’s willingness to hire a guy fired at the Dayton Daily News because of his union activities.

Larry Froelich has a son, Mark, who graduated from Kent State and is married to Bowling Green grad Christa. Their children are Jack and Lindsay.

Larry has a daughter, Britta, married to Michigan State grad Marc Spanke. Their children are Halle and Clare.
Janis is Mark and Britta’s mother.

Larry and Suzanne, a feature writer at the Free Press, have a son, Eric.
Larry’s brother, Steve Froelich, passed away in Findlay, Ohio in 2012. Steve taught high school English and journalism for 35 years in Findlay and performed in the local theatre.

Janis Froelich, who is married to St. Petersburg photographer Ray Bassett, grew up in an 1853
farmhouse right off Hudson's downtown Main Street and was a close friend of the late Features editor/columnist Joan Rice, "my how-to-be cool role model."

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Dyer on #1 treadmill

It wouldn’t be a Cleveland Press Club Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards if the BJ’s Bob Dyer wasn’t named best columnist. The 2017 first for my former Blue Room lunch partner, I think, puts him in double digits, or close to it.

Since joining the Akron Beacon Journal in 1984, Bob Dyer has earned 51 regional and national writing awards by 2014 and was Best Columnist in Ohio for seven consecutive years. In 2008, he was voted Best Columnist in the Nation and in 2013 he was voted Best Humor Columnist in the nation by the National Society of Professional Journalists. A native of suburban Cleveland, Dyer was one of the lead writers for "A Question of Color," a year-long examination of racial attitudes in Akron that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994. He came to Ol’ Blue Walls from the Wooster Daily Record.

BJ Cavs reporter Marla Ridenour was named best sports columnist in Ohio.

Other first-place winners were Mary Beth Breckenridge (lifestyle), Stephanie Warsmith (obituary), Rick Steinhauser (illustration), Paula Schleis (general news), Michael Chritton (general and sports photography), Mike Cardew (feature photography) and Phil Masturzo (studio and portrait photography).

Cleveland Plain Dealer was named #1 newspaper with the BJ #2.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Thrity’s NPR interview

There’s an excellent interview by Scott Simon’s of author/former BJ reporter Thrity Umrigar about her latest novel, “Everybody’s Son.”

It’s about a black child adopted by a wealthy white couple.

To read the National Public Radio interview, click on

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

NY Times to trim staff again

The New York Times offered buyouts to its newsroom employees Wednesday. Copy editors and others who assign and shape articles would be replaced by one group responsible for doing all of that without the layers of handling.

If not enough volunteer for the buyouts, then the Times will go to layoffs to reach its staffers reduction goal.

The Times also is eliminating its public editor, who handles reader complaints and questions.

In 2012 the Times had 5,363 employees. A year later, it had 3,529. The newspaper industry lost 3,800 full-time professional employees in 2014.

Advertising revenue for the latest quarter is down 7% for the Times.

Former BJ reporter Thrity Umbrigar will do some serious traveling to promote her latest book, “Everybody’s Son.”

Like Naperville, Illinois on June 9, Chicago on Jun 10, Corte Madera, California on June 26, Orinda, California on June 27, Palo Alto, California on June 28, Petoskey, Michigan on July 6 and Decatur, Georgia on September 2.

Heck, even the Hudson Library, 96 Library Street, Hudson, Ohio at 7 p.m. June 20.

This woman gets around.

Thrity was interviewed about “Everybody’s Son” by National Public Radio’s  Scott Simon for the Saturday, June 3 “Weekend Edition.”  The chat will show up sometime between 8 and 10 a.m. “We even talked about LeBron James,” Thrity said.
Thrity wrote “Bombay Times” in 2001, “First Darling in the Morning” in 2004, “The Space Between Us” in 2006, “If Today Be Sweet” in 2007, “The Weight of Heaven” in 2009, “The World We Found” in 2012, “The Story Hour” in 2014, “When I Carried You in My Belly” in 2017 and “Everybody’s Son,” also in 2017.

Many of her novels are tied to her experiences growing up in her native India, which she left at the age of 21 to attend Ohio State before winding up at Ol’ Blue Walls in 1987 after a couple of years at the Lorain Journal.

I wonder how she has time to teach creative writing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, which she has been doing since 2002.
BJ travelers cross paths … as usual 

Chip Bok, Susan Kirkman Zake
Former BJ photographer Susan Kirkman Zake was in Oregon at Otter Crest State Park and ran into BJ editorial cartoonist Arthur “Chip” Bok.

“And we weren't even on the main road,” Susan wrote. “How crazy is it that I’m clear across the country and run into Chip Bok?”
It isn’t unusual for traveling BJ folks to encounter others from Ol’ Blue Walls.
Former BJ reporter Charlene Nevada recalled: “We were walking in Berlin once and heard the words, ‘Krumel, you son of a bitch.’ We looked and lo and behold it was Derf (former BJ artist John Backderf) and Sheryl Harris,” former BJ reporter and Derf’s wife.
Former BJ 1970s State Desk reporter Paula Tucker and I landed in Aukland, New Zealand several years ago and were greeted at the airport by former BJ photographer Don Roese, who was getting ready to depart from the airport.
That wasn’t a total surprise since we knew that Don and wife Maryanne were visiting former BJ 1970s State Desk reporter Cathy Strong and that Paula and I were next in line for a reunion with Cathy, on the Massey University faculty at Wellington, New Zealand.
Sue is on the Kent State faculty in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. She began at the BJ in 1986 and spent two decades at 44 E. Exchange Street. She had a hand in three of BJ’s four Pulitizers. She’s traveling with her husband, Bruce Zake.
Chip was a Pulitzer finalist in 1997. His web site is He got the bug in 7th grade, thanks to inspiration from Mad Magazine, and began his career with the Clearwater, Florida Sun. He is a University of Dayton graduate and former UD hockey player.
Chip and wife Bev have four children and live in Akron. So Sue went from Kent and Akron to meet Chip in Oregon. Go figure.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

KSU has #1 student magazine in America

Kent State’s The Burr Magazine was named the best student magazine in the nation in the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual Mark of Excellent Awards.

Neville Hardman was editor of the submitted issue, which celebrated nostalgia and the retro revival of television, film, fashion and culture.

Neville is a North Canton Hoover High graduate who also attended Kent State-Stark and lives in Kent.
He shared the credit for the #1 choice with Jackie Stofsick, Brianna Deckert, Benjamin VanHoose, Sammi Ickes, Kelly Powell, Amani Williams, Molly Spillman, Jacob Derwin and Sam Sale plus adviser Stephanie Lawrence.
KSU’s Kent was a national finalist in general news for his photos of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

The KentWired staff was a national finalist in breaking news for its coverage of civil lawsuit by senior health studies major Lauren Kesterson, a former Kent State softball player, who said she was raped by the son of former softball coach Karen Linder and that the university did not comply with Title IX reporting procedures.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Windhorst rode LeBron wave early

Brian Windhorst
Ed Sherman, in, has an interesting about former BJ sports wrtier Brian Windhorst hitching his wagon to LeBron James long before the St. Vincent basketball player became a superstar.

Windhorst had to beg his editor at the Akron Beacon Journal to report on LeBron’s games with St. V, before the world discovered LeBron. That was in 1999.

Since, Brian has covered LeBron in Cleveland, Miami and back in Cleveland, parlaying himself into an ESPN job as an NBA reporter and teamed with Dave McMenamin on a new book, "Return of the King: LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Greatest Comeback in NBA History.".

Brian observes: “Everyone around LeBron has been pulled up by him.”

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ott and Ann Gangl, who put the Energizer Bunny to shame, are celebrating their 62nd wedding anniversary.

Retired BJ photographer Ott is equally at ease at a raucous Oktoberfest Festival, in a roomful of models during a photo shoot or going naked while photographing a nudist colony.

Ott wrote:
60 years ago this weekend Ann and I were married at St. Bernard Church in Akron by Father Wolf, who did it in German. Not that we couldn't speak English; he just wanted to practice.

“It's been a blast being married to that girl.”
“A blast” is an accurate depiction of their lives.
How Ott wound up with Ann is as fascinating as other stories that Ol’ Blue Walls escapees have of the effervescent German. Let Ott explain it, as only he can:

“John, I came over on the same converted Liberty Boat from Germany as her cousin on April 20, 1952. So while visiting I was introduced to the family with three young and beautiful daughters.
"I dated the older one for a while and then went to the middle one, Ann, to whom I got enamored while sitting in their living room waiting for Mary to fiddle with her makeup.
"After Mary dumped me I didn't miss a beat to date Ann. We got engaged in 1954 and a year later we got married.”
Moss never had a chance to grow on the rocking and rolling Ott family. Not with perpetual activities like skiing all over the world. When Ott broke a leg skiing, he just got back up on the mountain and resumed his carving, ollies and schussing.
All the while his medication rarely consisted of more than an aspirin.
After surviving ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia as the child of German parents in World War II, everything else paled by comparison for Ott.
In 2011 Ott photographed more than 100 models in a 90-year-old North Canton barn for 72 straight hours. The women flocked to have Ott take their pictures because he’s an area legend for models’ shoots.
The late BJ and PD reporter Terry Oblander chronicled the event, but his article was never published till Ott did it decades later online.
Years ago when there was threatening weather predicted for the Soap Box Derby, Ott was assigned to take a photo of “a pretty woman separating the clouds.” Ott saw a line of women, picked out the late BJ Features columnist/editor Connie Bloom and her long Garfield High majorette legs, and told her to hop in his car.
They went to Derby Downs, and Ott told Connie to “separate” the clouds. She made the appropriate motion and Ott had his leggy photo of the clouds-separator for the BJ, where Ott dazzled everyone for 25 years. Photography chief Julius Greenfield hired Ott.
Three score and two years ago, and Ott and Ann haven’t switched from the accelerator to the brakes yet.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trump coverage elevates MSNBC to #1 for first time

MSNBC, the pride of liberals, ranked #1 for the first time in history in Nielsen ratings for the week of May 15, both in total viewers and in the 25-54 age group that advertisers salivate over.

Fox News, the pride of conservatives, finished third. CNN fit in above Fox and below MSNBC.

Rachael Maddow’s live show and repeats both were #1 in their time slots.

MSNBC has been hitting the Trump camp scandals hard. Fox News takes a more protective stance.

Fox News founder Roger Ailes is dead. His right-tilted cable channel is having health problems, too.