Col. Harvey Rivkins, 91, newspaper owner, editor

August 19, 1993|By Staff Report

Retired Air Force Col. Harvey Rivkins, who was owner, editor and publisher of a South Baltimore weekly, died Sunday of respiratory failure at an Alexandria, Va., hospital.

The 91-year-old Vilnius, Lithuania, native took over the Enterprise in the early 1940s and sold his interest and retired in the mid-1980s.

He had published two other Baltimore papers, the Home News, in the 1930s, and the Suburbanite, in the 1960s. In the 1930s, he also was part-owner of Baltimore Airways, which served Baltimore and Atlantic City, N.J., and he worked as a reporter for the Baltimore Post, which was later purchased by the News American, and as a stringer for the International News Service.

One of six sons of a rabbi, he was reared in Baltimore.

R. Charles Avara, a member of the House of Delegates who was associated with Colonel Rivkins in the paper before taking over his interest at his retirement, described him as a "real professional who could make a story out of a small event."

"We called him General because of his military career," Mr. Avara said, noting that Colonel Rivkins had a collection of pictures of stars he met while they were on tours to entertain the troops.

During World War II, he served in the Army, first as a public relations officer at the Aberdeen Proving Ground and then in Europe, where he was assigned as a liaison officer to the Red Army, with which he entered Auschwitz and Berlin.

After the war, he transferred to the Air Force, where he was an aide to Werner von Braun, the German missile expert, and a military liaison officer in China before the Communist government took over.

Before retiring from the Air Force in 1961, he served as Air Force Academy liaison officer in the Baltimore area. He received several citations for his work on behalf of the academy; other decorations included the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and French Croix de Guerre.

During his military service, the Enterprise was operated by his wife, the former Lillian Wisner, who used the pen name, Lola Watson. He took over the job in 1961 after her death and his retirement from the Air Force.

Services were to be conducted at 9 a.m. today at the Memorial Chapel at Fort Myer, adjacent to the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

He is survived by a daughter, Lee Pollard of Burke, Va.; a son, Malcolm Rivkins of Sonoma, Calif.; a brother, Salem Rivkins of Baltimore; and two granddaughters.

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