Tuesday, August 03, 1999

Bob Fogarty was easy-going newsman


The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Veteran newsman Bob Fogarty led a life as colorful as many of the newsmakers he covered in his 30-year career.

        One of the old school of journalists, the California native worked his way up from copy boy to courthouse reporter, covering everything from the waning days of Newport corruption to the trials resulting from the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire.

        Equally at ease among well-known newsmakers and those who found themselves suddenly thrust into the limelight because of tragedy, the easygoing reporter always managed to get the story.

        But like the true newsman that he was, Fogarty, as the unassuming journalist was known to friends and colleagues, never interjected himself into a story.

        “You never knew what Fogarty's point of view was,” said retired Kenton District Judge William Schmaedecke. “He simply reported the news, which is what you want from a journalist.”

        Mr. Fogarty, 77, died Friday at the Batavia Nursing Home, from complications of bone cancer.

        His son, John, of Mount Washington, said he'll remember his father for his “indefatigable sense of humor, his integrity, his courage, and the love and guidance that he gave his children.”

        “He was capable of engendering confidence in whomever he interviewed,” said John Fogarty, who dedicated his 1990 novel, The Haunt, to his parents.

        A solid professional who worried more about cultivating sources than whether or not he'd decorated his necktie with his lunch, Mr. Fogarty preferred substance over style.

        “He was a pro's pro,” recalled Enquirer sports reporter John Erardi, who had worked with Mr. Fogarty in the paper's Kentucky bureau. “When he reported stories, he always brought to them the human touch, because he was such a thoroughly decent, big-hearted guy.”

        As a rookie reporter in the Enquirer's Kentucky bureau, copy editor Jim Calhoun recalled how the veteran newsman managed to cover a small plane crash by working the phones.

        “Seems he just called around until he got the right farmhouse where the not-so-injured pilot landed, and the county sheriff had been dispatched,” Mr. Calhoun said. “He had a way of making people want to talk with him. I think that was such a gift.”

        Mr. Fogarty's own experiences often mirrored those of the more famous newsmakers he covered.

        During World War II, he served as a member of an Army sonic deception unit, whose mission was to get behind enemy lines in Belgium and France, and broadcast sounds that made it seem as if tanks were rolling forward, his son said.

        For his efforts during the war, which included liberating concentration and displaced persons' camps, he was awarded the American Theater Ribbon, the EAME Theater Ribbon, four Bronze Stars, the Victory Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

        When the war ended, Mr. Fogarty returned home to study journalism at the University of Southern California.

        A nine-year investigator for the U.S. Civil Service Commission, Mr. Fogarty's journalistic career included working for The Western Hills Press, as well as several California weeklies. He worked at The Kentucky Post from 1963 to 1973, before coming to The Kentucky Enquirer. He retired in 1985.

        Mr. Fogarty, a former deacon at Lakeside Presbyterian Church, was preceded in death by his wife, Peggy Norville Fogarty.

        Other survivors include sons, David, of Ludlow, and Paul, of College Hill; and a granddaughter.

        Graveside services will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Dayton National Cemetery. There is no visitation. Linnemann Funeral Home in Covington is handling arrangements.

        Memorials can be sent to the American Cancer Society, or the charity of donor's choice.


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