Robert H. Kavanaugh, Sun Executive

December 10, 2009|By Jacques Kelly

Robert H. Kavanaugh, a retired Baltimore Sun executive and World War II veteran, died of cardiac arrest Dec. 4 at his Clearwater, Fla. home. The former North Baltimore resident was 84.

Born in Ellicott City, he was the son of Emmett Patrick Kavanaugh, a vice president of the old A.S. Abell Co., publishers of The Sun. After attending St. Paul's Parochial School in Ellicott City, he graduated from Mount St. Joseph's High School in 1942. He enlisted in the Navy during WWII and served aboard the battleship New York in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

He earned a degree in journalism at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he was lacrosse team captain and an officer in the Chi Phi fraternity.

He joined the Abell Co. in 1949 and rose to become advertising director in 1968. He retired in 1982 as senior vice president. He had also been the newspaper's general manager.

After residing on Gittings Avenue for many years, he moved to Gibson Island. In 1982, he retired to Florida.

He created, wrote, directed and produced an early TV travel series, "Going Places," which aired on WMAR-TV. He also produced "First Edition," a documentary film that was nominated for an Academy Award.

He was a director of Baltimore's USO and the Better Business Bureau and sat on the old South Baltimore General Hospital's board.

In his free time he painted and also worked on miniature art. In his later years, he lost his eyesight to macular degeneration but wrote short stories and essays with the help of a computer program.

At his death, Mr. Kavanaugh was the chief executive officer of California Beauty Studios in Clearwater, Fla.

Survivors include two daughters, Catherine R. Jones of Sandwich, Mass., and Margaret Mary Kavanaugh of Clearwater, Fla.; three granddaughters; and four great-grandchildren. His wife of 52 years, Rose Marie Goodhues, died in 2000. A son, Robert H. Kavanaugh, died in 1969.

Services were held Tuesday.


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