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Joe Ruklick (MSJ90)

Former Northwestern basketball star Joe Ruklick died of natural causes Thursday, September 17, 2020. He was 82.

Rucklick played for the Wildcats from 1956-59 and was an All-American as a senior. The 6-foot-10 center said he was better known as a “walking footnote.” 

He was proud to have taken part in one of the NBA’s most iconic moments — assisting on Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain’s 99th and 100th points in a record-setting game for the Philadelphia Warriors on March 2, 1962, against the New York Knicks. 

“I was wide open,” Ruklick recalled in a 2016 interview with the Chicago Tribune. “I’m looking at the New York players who will not yield. I don’t know what I thought, but I knew I had to get the ball to Wilt. There were 46 seconds to go, and there’s a guy hanging on his left hip. He went, ‘Woo!’ and that meant he was open briefly. There were his hands, and I got the ball to him. And he scored.”

Ruklick said he patiently waited by the scorer’s table to make sure his assist was properly recorded. 

Ruklick, a Princeton, Illinois, native, averaged 19.9 points and 13.2 rebounds in three seasons at Northwestern — including 23 and 13 in 1958-59. The Warriors selected Ruklick in the second round (ninth overall) of the 1959 draft, and he played sparingly in three seasons. He said the pay was lousy and he morally objected to team owners wanting to keep him on the roster to appease fans who didn’t want too many Black players at the time.

“Many of them didn’t think there would be more than a handful of Black players every year,” he told the Tribune. “They thought: ‘Chamberlain is a freak. We’ll never see another Bill Russell.’ That’s how dumb we were back then. People were ugly sometimes. But it was as common as the morning sunshine.”

Chamberlain and Ruklick, who had played against each other in college when Chamberlain was at Kansas, remained friends until Chamberlain’s death in 1999.

After his NBA career, Ruklick became an investment banker and a father of three. He earned a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern at 50, later working at newspapers such as the Chicago Defender. Ruklick lived in Evanston and often attended Northwestern games as a reporter for the Aurora Voice.

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Loren “Marty” Hintz (MSJ68)

Loren Martin “Marty” Hintz passed away on Sunday, September 20, 2020, in his home surrounded by his family. He was 75. Marty dedicated his life to traveling and writing — learning as much as he could about the world, and sharing the stories with others.

“He was an incredibly expansive human being,” his son Daniel Hintz said, “and just had a zest for life that was really quite infectious.”

Daniel remembers his father, a “prolific storyteller,” was always looking for his next adventure. The publisher of the Irish American Post newspaper, Marty also wrote more than 125 books, his family says, and was Irish Fest’s first publicist.

Hintz grew up in the small Iowa farm town of New Hampton and studied journalism at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and at Northwestern University, then worked at the Milwaukee Sentinel.

He later became a freelance writer, his inquisitive spirit never fading. When the family went out to a restaurant, Hintz would pepper the waitress with questions, his son remembers.

“He was constantly mining for stories, constantly mining for ideas for the next adventure,” Daniel Hintz said.

Marty overflowed with tales of his travels and his latest projects — but his most meaningful, his son believes, was his journey to find his father’s downed plane in Italy.

Loren Hintz, a fighter pilot, died at 27 when his plane crashed in Italy just before the end of World War II. Marty Hintz was born six weeks later.

He endeavored to know the father he never met, undertaking years of research and digs to find the plane.

When he died, Hintz was producing a documentary about his family’s 2017 successful search for the plane. His family is now working to raise money to complete it in his honor.

Hintz’s friends from Italy, Ireland and around the world have been reaching out to his family since his death, recalling his kind nature and love of storytelling. Daniel Hintz said he’s gotten at least 500 messages from those who knew him.

Hintz is survived by his wife, Pam Percy, his children Daniel (Kassie) Hintz, Steve (Rashauna) Hintz, Katie (Garrick Topp) Hintz; step-children Matthew (Jennifer) Segel, Katie (Matt Liban) Segel, Ross (Abby) Segel; and 19 grandchildren.

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Director of Sports Journalism J.A. Adande and three-time NBA champion B.J. Armstrong embark on podcast “Beyond the Last Dance”

By Grace Chang (BSJ23)

“The Last Dance” docuseries, which set ratings records on ESPN last spring, explored Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls through hours of never-before-seen footage, with interviews ranging from actress Carmen Electra to former President Barack Obama.

The show re-released on Netflix in July and has become the most watched ESPN documentary ever, also winning an Emmy for Outstanding Documentary Series.

But according to J.A. Adande (Medill ’92), the series left viewers clamoring for more.

Under a partnership between Audible and the National Basketball Association, three-time NBA champion B.J. Armstrong and Director of Sports Journalism at Medill J.A. Adande released the “Beyond the Last Dance” podcast. The podcast released on August 31, shortly after the launch of Audible’s new membership program Audible Plus.

“I never envisioned that I would still be talking about those things some 25, 30 years later, but here we are,” said Armstrong. “It’s been interesting to go back in time for a little bit and rehash some of the things or re-contextualize some of those events as they occurred.”

Armstrong is currently the executive vice president and managing executive of basketball at Wasserman, a sports marketing agency based in Los Angeles.

The podcast’s senior producer, Cher Vincent, said that “Beyond the Last Dance” expands on topics introduced in the 10 episodes of the docuseries by adding more interviews and storylines from the era.

“We kind of wanted to take away moments that we felt were ideas that were brought up in the series, but I think there was still more to explain and dig in deeper,” Vincent said. “‘The Last Dance’ wasn’t the end result. It was a starting point.”

The podcast outlines 10 themes, which parallel the 10 episodes of “The Last Dance.” Some topics the podcast will expand upon include Jordan’s competitive drive, making a “business mogul and endorsement king” out of an athlete and, most recently, the influence of foreign players like Toni Kukoč on the NBA, Adande said.

Each podcast episode follows a similar format, with an opening essay from Adande featuring interview archives, a discussion and interview co-hosted by Armstrong and a closing essay.

Adande, who covered the Bulls while writing for the Chicago Sun-Times in the early 1990s, said that what he enjoyed most about the docuseries was the interviews and the new footage. In creating the podcast, Adande wanted to draw more from the interviews, he added.

“Anytime there was something that was new for me that I learned, even though I’d been around for a lot of this firsthand, I think if it could surprise and interest me… it’ll be surprising and interesting for the audience as well,” Adande said.

Adande said while this is his first time writing and hosting a podcast, he has enjoyed the process.

Looking forward, he’s hoping the podcast continues to improve and he’s excited for the episode about athlete activism.

“The improvement as we go along — it’s noticeable to me and I think it’d be noticeable to people as well,” Adande said. “I mean we were sort of learning our way around this the first couple episodes and we really settled in.”

Originally published in the Daily Northwestern on Sept. 27, 2020:

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Kathleen K. Naureckas (BSJ58)

Kathleen Naureckas, 83, passed away on Wednesday, September 30, 2020, in Oak Park, Illinois. She was born October 12, 1936, in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania.

Kathleen received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern in 1958, and went on to get a master’s degree in English literature, also from Northwestern. She was the managing editor of the weekly Libertyville Herald and served on the editorial staff of the Chicago Tribune until her retirement. Kathleen was an avid reader and a poet, having published one book of poems titled “For the Duration,” with another poetry book, “Winter Ecology,” under publication. After retirement, she played saxophone for the New Horizons Band and enjoyed playing bridge and watching movies.

Kathleen is survived by her daughter, Karen (Rick) Christiansen; her two sons, Dr. Ted (Dr. Sara) and Jim (Janine Jackson) Naureckas; her six grandchildren, Dr. Lauren (Matthew) Lindquist, Sean Christiansen, Dr. Caitlin (Dr. Edward) Li, Dr. Patrick (Lauren Heeg), June and Eden Naureckas; her three great-grandchildren, Ethan, Reid and Collin Lindquist; her sister, Marie Zelenka; her brothers, Thomas and Patrick Kearney; and her beloved cat, Rosie.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Adeline and Christopher Kearney; her husband, Edward Naureckas; their young daughter, Barbara Naureckas; her brothers Jim and John Kearney; and her sister Adele Kearney.!/Obituary

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Rickey L. Wedeking (GJ95)

Rickey Lee Wedeking passed away on Wednesday, September 30, 2020. He was born on January 19, 1962, in Indianapolis to Dr. Fred L. Wedeking and Denise O. Wedeking. 

Rickey began regaling crowds at an early age with his infectious smile and impish nature. With initial aspirations to follow in his father’s footsteps, Rickey obtained his paramedic degree from Kalamazoo Valley Community College in 1980, the youngest to receive such a degree at that time. He then worked for Emmett and RNEMS Ambulance services and on his first run delivered a baby. Rickey next attended Michigan State University to study marketing, graduating in 1986. During his time as a Spartan, Rickey was very active with the Sigma Chi fraternity. Post graduation, Rickey started his own marketing firm in Kalamazoo, Different Dimensions, Inc. He later owned and operated Plainwell Printing and then acquired his real estate broker’s license to sell houses in the Kalamazoo area. 

Eventually, Rickey wanted to return to school, and he enrolled in Northwestern University’s marketing communications program. He graduated in 1995 with his graduate degree cum laude as class valedictorian. Rickey’s next adventure took him to Newport Beach, California, where he was employed in marketing research by Urban Science. He became president of the local chapter of the American Marketing Association. When not at work, Rickey loved his oceanside life and spent many weekends surfing, sailing and ambling around his beloved Catalina Island. 

Rickey lived life to the fullest, living large and loving hard, enjoying the arts, the bars, fine dining, the study of history and the Bible, world travel and, of course, his family. Rickey’s focus changed to healing and fighting after his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 1998. Rickey was always positive through tough times and willing to embrace his next battle. He and his family are especially thankful to all those at Alamo Nursing Home, his second family, who cared, laughed, loved and prayed with and for Rickey during his most challenging times. 

Rickey’s memory is still alive in those that survive him, including his parents, sister Tammy (Sue) and her husband, Steve Withers; brother Ritch Wedeking; aunts Nancy Wedeking and Peggy White; uncles Jeff Neel, Dickson Matos and family, Kilton Matos and family; many more beloved family in Puerto Rico; nephew Karsen Withers; niece Taryn Withers; and cousin Michelle Neel.

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Matthew T. Gamber (MSJ97)

Fr. Matthew T. Gamber S.J., age 61, passed away Friday, October 16, 2020, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Matt was a graduate of Loyola Academy, and received a bachelor’s in political science from Marquette University, a master’s in philosophy from Loyola University, a master’s of divinity from Weston Jesuit School of Theology, and a master’s in journalism from Northwestern University. Father Matt was a gifted journalist, and was published in the National Catholic Register, Catholic World Report and Catholic Herald. He was most recently appointed chaplain and director of youth ministry at St. Xavier High School. Previously, he was associate pastor at St. Francis Xavier Church in Cincinnati, and he enjoyed a lifelong career in the religious order including positions in Chicago, Gonzaga University in Washington, Xavier University in Cincinnati, and in the Vatican Radio and Catholic News Service in Rome, Italy.

Father Matt loved being a priest, and a channel of God’s healing graces and love for the people he served. He led a profoundly spiritual life, dedicated to his faith, his family, the Society of Jesus, and his many friends. Known for his hearty laugh and inquisitive spirit, Father Matt was beloved by many and enjoyed connecting with people wherever he went.

Matt was preceded in death by his father Mark J. and brother Lawrence M. Gamber. He is survived by his mother Ruth Ann (nee Henneman) Gamber; siblings Mark (MaryJo), William (Linda), Mary Margaret, and Robert (Suzan) Gamber; sister-in-law Carol Gamber; nieces and nephews Matthew (Alexandra), Casey, Charlie, Jamie, Mary Kate and Luke Gamber; and great nephew Benjamin.

1960s Legacies

Paul “Stan” Carlson (MSJ64)

Paul Stanley “Stan” Carlson, 81, of Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, passed away Monday, December 21, 2020. 

He was the beloved husband of Mary Carlson; loving father of Eric and Christopher Carlson; beloved son of Reverend Paul E. Carlson and Ruth Anderson Carlson and stepmother Wilma Jewel Carlson; fond grandfather of Shayley Lynn and Ian Carlson; dear brother of Lynette Rathbone and the late Marilyn Carlson and Pauline Nelson; and fond uncle of Brad Nelson, Kay Mork, Janine Starceuich, Lynda Kay, Erin Wester and Scot Effenheim.

1940s Legacies

Annie-Kate Carpenter (BSJ45)

Annie-Kate Carpenter, 96, passed away Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Born in Tampa, Florida, on May 31, 1924, she was the daughter of John Selby Brengle and Mary Margaret Monroe Brengle. She graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 1945.

After working with the Associated Press and the Chicago Tribune, she returned to Tampa to teach elementary school, high school and college students. She attended Hyde Park Presbyterian Church and was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, DAR, the St. Andrew’s Society, the Florida Genealogical Society and the Huguenot Society of Florida. 

Annie-Kate was preceded in death by her parents and by her daughter, Mary-Phyllis Dolcimascolo Harvey. She is survived by her son, Samuel B. Dolcimascolo (Mary Margaret); son-in-law, John W. Harvey; grandchildren, Paul S. Dolcimascolo (Jessica), Mollie Dolcimascolo, Caroline Elizabeth Harvey, and Mary Kate Harvey; and three great-grandchildren.

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Q&A with Casey Newton (BSJ02), Founder of Platformer

By Jude Cramer (BSJ23)

Casey Newton (BSJ02) is a leading voice in tech journalism and a finalist for the 2020 Ellie Award for Reporting. He’s best known for writing daily newsletter The Interface for The Verge since 2017. Now he’s stepping out on his own, releasing a new newsletter, Platformer, on Substack. I talked with him about his Medill experience, how he fell in love with tech journalism and what the future holds for his career.

How did your education and your experience at Northwestern help prepare you for your career?

There were sort of two phases of me getting into journalism at college. I’d been the editor of my high school paper, and then liked it enough that when I asked my guidance counselor where I should go to college, she said, “Well, if you want to be a journalist, you should go to Medill.” And that was basically it for me. So I visited the school, I loved it, applied, got in and showed up to campus.

All my friends who worked at The Daily Northwestern talked about it as this all-consuming cult. And I thought, “Well, I don’t know if I’m ready to join a cult, I kind of want to enjoy college a little.” So I didn’t start working at The Daily until I was a sophomore, but I completely fell in love with it. I mean, the people who were working there at the time were just the best, most patient teachers. And I really feel like most of the journalism education that I got that I still use to this day, I learned from the other editors at The Daily who would sit down next to me when I, you know, wrote my terrible story about some event, and would just go through it line by line and fix it and teach me that way. So I had a great experience at Medill and Northwestern generally, but it was really The Daily that was at the center of it for me.

Now you’re a pretty prolific tech journalist. What led to your interest in tech journalism? Was that always your intended field?

My first job was covering state and local politics, and I kind of bounced around. I worked for a couple of newspapers. I was hopping from beat to beat. I worked in Arizona for like six and a half years. And then a couple of my friends moved to San Francisco and I visited, and it was just a love at first sight thing where I felt like, “Oh, this is where I should have been the whole time. This is the greatest city in the world.” And so my initial interest had actually just been moving to San Francisco. I spent about two years looking for a job here. 

While I was here, I stopped in and saw some old friends who were working at the San Francisco Chronicle, two of whom had been my former editors in Arizona. Two months after that, one of the editors at the Chronicle called me and said, “Hey, have you ever thought about being a tech reporter?” And I was like, “No, but what would that be?” And he said, “Well, you know, you just move here and write all about Apple and Google and Facebook and whatever seems interesting.” I was like, “That sounds like the greatest job in the world. Like, can I do that?” So they hired me to do it, and it really was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Wow, it’s really amazing how that just fell into your lap almost, and then changed the trajectory of your whole career.

It’s honestly terrifying! I’m more impressed with people who are very intentional about their careers. But this was definitely a happy accident.

So you started at The Verge in 2013, and while there you started a daily tech newsletter, The Interface. Now you’re leaving The Verge to produce your own newsletter with Substack — what influenced your decision to make that move?

I loved doing the newsletter. I wanted to figure out if there was a way where I could do it forever, and it seemed like the best way to do that was to just totally control my own destiny. I felt like the thing I was doing was valuable. People would email me sometimes saying, “I can’t believe this is free. I wish I could pay for this.” And at some point, I thought, “Maybe I should let them.” 

And how is Platformer different from The Interface? How is it the same?

Right now, it looks almost identical to The Interface in content. Each day, I’m still bringing you a column about today’s biggest news and platforms, and I’m bringing you the best links about that subject from the best journalists in the world. And I think that format is going to endure for a while. 

Where I hope that I can start to separate it from The Interface is that there’s just going to be more original reporting in it. In the past, if I had a scoop, I would just put that on The Verge and then the newsletter would be a separate thing. Now, the newsletter itself could be the scoop. 

The hope is that over time Platformer starts to grow in people’s imaginations as, hopefully, the smartest site on the internet about platforms in particular and, you know, maybe a few other things along the way.

Do you have anything to say to your fellow Medill alumni?

I just have so much admiration for people who have stayed in journalism. Journalism is a really hard business to stay in. It tends to attract the most idealistic people that I’ve ever met. And unfortunately, once folks leave college, you’re just met with the cold realities of it being an extremely difficult business where the business models are very shaky, and where your fate is often controlled by a private equity firm, or, you know, someone with no editorial values. And it sucks! And so people leave. And so as a result, we don’t have nearly enough watchdogs for our democracy. And so the cool thing about having gone to a journalism school where there are so many great alumni and so many great students there now is just being part of a community of people who believe in that as an ideal and something worth fighting for.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

1950s Featured Legacies Legacies

Kenneth M. Wylie, Jr. (BSJ51, MSJ52)

Kenneth M. Wylie, Jr. (J 51, MSJ 52) died on June 1, 2020, at his home in Evanston following a long illness. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, the former Sarah Hibbard, and three daughters: Clarissa Wylie Youngberg, Mary Barr Wylie and Jennifer Sundy Fallon. 

Ken was born 93 years ago in southwestern Pennsylvania. He moved as a child to the Chicago area and later to Tidewater Virginia. He served in the army from 1945 to 1947, spending 1946 in the U.S. zone of Germany as a radio technician/operator.

After graduating from Medill, Ken’s work was in magazine editing and reporting, university publications work (Northwestern and IIT), freelance editorial work, industrial technical writing, public relations and advertising. He was devoted to his church (First Presbyterian Church of Evanston) and to his community, serving frequently as an officer of the Kiwanis Club of Evanston Breakfast. During the 1960s he was among the founders of the Evanston Ecumenical Action Council, now known as Interfaith Action of Evanston. He published his novel, “Driving to Mercer,” in 2017.