David F. McCann, 66, news editor for WMAR-TV

May 07, 2000|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

David F. McCann, a retired film and news editor for WMAR-TV, died of cancer Wednesday at his home in Glen Rock, Pa. He was 66 and had worked for the station for 34 years.

Mr. McCann trained as an electrician during four years with the Navy and worked in that trade for six years before he joined WMAR as a film editor in the mid-1960s.

"He would take segments out of the movie to make it fit the commercial breaks," said George Stover, a friend and former cameraman at the station, now a free-lance producer.

"He just loved old movies," said his wife of 29 years, the former Jayne Salmon.

When Mr. McCann's job was being phased out as videotape replaced film at WMAR in 1977, he learned to edit for electronic news-gathering and became a news editor, then chief of news editing in 1989 -- the position he held until his retirement in 1998.

"He saw a lot of changes in television from the day he started," said WMAR reporter Mark Vernarelli, who was an intern when he met Mr. McCann in 1982. "He was a wonderful guy -- very gregarious, very jovial, and he never really got rattled by anything.

"My favorite saying of his was, `Another day, another fender' -- like an assembly line -- and he'd raise his coffee cup to another day's work," Mr. Vernarelli said.

Mr. McCann would oversee the cutting of 50 to 100 tapes, "for content or for `teases,' like when the anchor says `Coming up next ' It's like running an emergency room or [being] an air traffic controller: You have a finite number of edit booths to do what has to be done," Mr. Vernarelli said.

A memorial of sorts remains in Mr. McCann's favorite editing booth: a cube he began making years ago from the peeled-off labels of tens of thousands of videotapes -- similar to a ball of string, said Mr. Vernarelli. "It's so big you can hardly lift it."

Raised in Hamilton, Mr. McCann lived in the Baltimore area until 1976, when he moved to Pennsylvania. He belonged to St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in New Freedom, Pa., where he sang in the choir for 10 years. He also gave piano lessons to children for a time.

Mr. McCann was a fourth-degree member of the Knights of Columbus and a member of the Glen Rock American Legion post.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by three daughters, Colleen McCann Cericola of Perry Hall, Denise Roberts of Monkton and Patrese Kesling of Cockeysville; two sons, Lonnie C. Roberts of Hampstead and Patrick J. McCann of Ellicott City; and eight grandchildren.

A funeral Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church at York Road and Church Lane in Texas, Baltimore County.

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