Robert Reid, columnist for Frederick paper, diesRobert C...


April 14, 1992

Robert Reid, columnist for Frederick paper, dies

Robert C. Reid, a decorated veteran and the longtime State House columnist and reporter for the Frederick News-Post, died BTC in Annapolis yesterday after a three-year battle with cancer. He was 63.

Fighting his cancer until the end, Mr. Reid delayed a trip to the doctor last week to file what turned out to be his final column -- a typically tongue-in-cheek effort suggesting he should be allowed to deduct from his taxes the amount he spends on food for the animals in his neighborhood.

"He had an interesting style. He was very unpredictable," said Mike Powell, managing editor of the News-Post. "He was easy-going, he was good-natured, and he certainly had an upbeat view of life."

"Bob Reid was one of those rare journalists who knew that newspapermen have a responsibility to tell the entire story, not just the part that makes headlines," Gov. William Donald Schaefer said yesterday. "We'll miss his wit and his smile."

Lou Davis, the longtime State House reporter for WMAR-TV, Channel 2, said Mr. Reid showed strength throughout his illness.

"Even toward the end, when he wasn't feeling well, sometimes under a tremendous amount of pain, the thing that impressed me he always tried to get down here and cover and make sure his newspaper was reporting these very difficult stories correctly," Mr. Davis said.

Lawmakers from the Frederick area made regular visits to Mr. Reid's desk on the ground floor of the State House.

"I get the feeling that it would be a normal thing that you would check in with Bob and almost see how something would play," said Mr. Powell.

Mr. Reid served 20 years in the Air Force, serving in the Berlin Airlift and the Korean War as a flight engineer on bombers. He was awarded the Bronze Star, three Purple Hearts and eight other combat decorations.

During breaks in his active service, Mr. Reid worked for the San Francisco Examiner, the Pacific Coast edition of the Wall Street Journal and for the United Press news service. He later covered the Vietnam War as a reporter for Stars and Stripes and several other military newspapers.

After retiring from the Air Force in 1967, Mr. Reid founded and ran the Bowie Blade newspaper in Bowie, which he sold to a competing publication in 1980.

In 1980, he joined the News-Post as Annapolis bureau chief and soon began writing a three-times-a-week column. He wrote several time about his battle with cancer, which was diagnosed in 1989.

"I talked about this before, a couple of years ago. It's something that too many people like to hide in dark closets, and not be open about it, as if it's socially stigmatized. The word is cancer. It's back," he wrote in May 1991.

He once said he considered reporting to be the most important part of his job, and writing columns the most fun.

"Journalists work hard, long hours, are sincere, straightforward and honorable types, but with the same shortcomings as the rest of the human race," he once wrote.

Mr. Reid was born in Detroit and grew up in Hamilton, Ontario.

He is survived by his wife, Corinne, of Bowie; four children, Dan Burbine of Dallas, Nancy Braunger of Santa Barbara, Calif., Richard Burbine of Honolulu and Roger Reid, of Funkstown, Md.; 12 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Mr. Reid will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery Friday at 2 p.m. There will be viewings today and Wednesday, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Beall and Evans funeral establishment in the 16000 block of Annapolis Road in Bowie.

Rev. Glenn Fickel

Minister, teacher

Graveside services for the Rev. Glenn Fickel, an ordained minister who taught in high schools in Woodlawn and in Brooklyn Park before retiring from teaching about 15 years ago, will be held at noon Saturday in Wicomico Memorial Park in Salisbury.

Mr. Fickel, who had lived in retirement in Ocean Pines before moving to Sun City Center, Fla., about 10 years ago, died Dec. 16 at a hospital in Bradenton, Fla., after a heart attack. He was 79.

He taught English, speech, drama and journalism at Woodlawn High School for about 15 years. He taught first at Brooklyn Park High School after moving to the Baltimore area in 1954.

Earlier, he taught at high schools in Wyoming and Colorado and at Kansas State College in Manhattan.

Born in Cuba, Kan., he was a graduate of Adrian College in Michigan and the old Westminster Theological Seminary. He obtained a master's degree from Kansas State College.

Ordained in the late 1930s as a United Methodist minister, he served a circuit of seven churches in the Colonial Beach, Va., area during World War II and churches in Colorado and Kansas before ending his active ministry in the early 1950s.

He became active in Kiwanis International after his retirement and started theater groups in Ocean Pines and in Florida.

His first wife, the former Mary Alice Effich, died in 1980.

He is survived by his wife, the former Elizabeth Bassford; one daughter, Mary Alice Cannon Porecki of Fort Myers, Fla.; two sons, Glenn Fickel Jr. of Ocean City and John H. Fickel of Stony Creek, N.Y.; one sister, Maude L. Beiter of Parsons, Kan.; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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