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Peter Jacobi (BSJ52, MSJ53) – Medill Professor and Associate Dean

Peter Jacobi (BSJ52, MSJ53), former longtime Medill professor and associate dean, died on December 24, 2019. He was 89. Jacobi was a member of the inaugural class of the Medill Hall of Achievement of 1997 and served on the Medill faculty from 1955 to 1981. He joined the journalism faculty at Indiana University in 1985.

Jacobi’s two guidebooks, “The Magazine Article: How to Think It, Plan It, Write It” and “Writing with Style: The News Story and the Feature,” are standard reference sources for journalists. In 2006 Jacobi received the School of Continuing Studies Teaching Excellence Award from Indiana University.

Jacobi was professor emeritus of journalism at Indiana University and a regular reviewer/contributor to The Herald-Times in Bloomington up until his death.

The final installment of his local newspaper column, “Music Beat,” appeared on Dec. 15, 2019 and previewed that afternoon’s Bloomington Chamber Singers’ performance of George Frideric Handel’s oratorio “Messiah.”

Peter Paul Jacobi was born March 15, 1930, in Berlin and came to the United States at age 8.

Jacobi joined the Medill faculty in 1955, working his way up from a professional lecturer to his position as associate dean. After leaving Medill in 1985, he worked as a consultant before joining the Indiana faculty where the taught until receiving emeritus status in 2017.
Jacobi was a member of the American Association of University Professors, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Society of Professional Journalists, Arts Midwest, the Bloomington Community Arts Commission and the Indiana Arts Commission, where he was chairman from 1990 to 1993.

He is survived by two sons, Keith Jacobi and Wyn Jacobi, and three grandchildren. Jacobi’s wife, Hattie, whom he met more than 70 years ago, died on Sept. 30, 2019.

Faculty remembrances of Peter Jacobi:
Roger Boye, Associate Professor Emeritus-in-Service
Peter Jacobi was a master teacher, a brilliant lecturer, the proverbial “scholar and a gentleman.” Generations of Medill students owe so much to this man.
I once heard him give a lecture in mid summer in an un-airconditioned room with no slides or visual aids to nearly 100 people who listened in rapt attention for 90 minutes. He was that good.
In 1972, he did a piece for Quill magazine on what it means to be a teacher of journalism, still the best article of its kind ever written. Subconsciously, he must have been describing himself when he wrote:
“To be a journalism teacher at college or high school level, one must be alert to life and living, an embracer of imagination, open to suggestion, free and careful with advice, scholarly in one’s approach to constant and persistent learning.

“A teacher who truly teaches is unsparing of time and the expenditure of energy toward students, helpful, encouraging, young in thought and receptivity, gently authoritative, flexible, never satisfied with himself.
“The journalism teacher has learned to practice his profession and continues to practice it; he does not teach from textbooks. He’s thought about journalism’s glories and its flaws. He has the missionary zeal to improve a human activity that he loves.”
Just a few weeks before the 1978 national convention of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the speaker for the awards banquet cancelled, leaving organizers scrambling for a replacement. They asked Peter Jacobi based entirely on his reputation; they had never before heard him speak. And as the big event drew closer, they began second-guessing their decision. But Peter did not let them down. He received a rousing standing ovation from several hundred journalists—the only one of six major speakers during that convention so honored. The Quill magazine ran his speech as its cover story in January 1979.
“In our search for the abnormal, the unusual, the eccentric, the different, don’t just look for those people and happenings that are abnormally bad, usually awful, eccentrically negative, differently evil,” he told the convention. “Look for what and who are abnormally good, unusually useful, abnormally fascinating, differently inspirational. Look for good news, in other words, not just bad. But look for news more than we look for pap.”
He also called on journalists to “love words. Sure, appreciate pictures, film, tape. But love words. As long as we remember the value of words and fight viciously against cheapening them, then we’re likely to treat the press with the kind of respect that defeats abuse. Looking toward tomorrow, abuse abuse. In fact, stamp it out.”

David Nelson, Associate Professor Emeritus
In 1964 I learned to take risks in writing: Peter Jacobi taught that class. In 1968 I learned that in any creative craft it’s OK to make a fool of yourself as you experiment and grow in that effort: Peter Jacobi taught that class. When I learned of his death, I remembered that Prof. Jacobi introduced me to Beethoven. Naturally, I played “Missa Solemnis” in tribute.

https://www.hoosiertimes.com/herald_times_online/news/local/journalist-and-music-reviewer-peter-jacobi-dies-at/article_31d5ca8a-2821-11ea-95c2-13a214232720.html

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1980s Featured Legacies Legacies

Ed Filipowski (BSJ83)

Ed Filipowski, co-chairman and chief strategist for fashion public relations firm KCD, died at home on Jan. 10, 2020. He was 58.

Filipowski was raised in a small town in southwestern Pennsylvania, where his father was a steelworker. Realizing early on that he had a talent for writing, Filipowski started working for the local newspaper as well as the high school paper and radio station. “I was attracted to anything media-related, and I was driven to be a journalist,” he said in a story for the Medill magazine in 2014. He knew Medill was the best journalism school, so he borrowed money from his sister for the application fee. “I was fortunate to get in the door,” he said in the Medill article, adding that he received nearly a full scholarship.

Fashion, too, was always in the back of his mind. In Evanston, Filipowski immersed himself in campus life, joining Theta Chi fraternity, the activities and organizations board, and The Daily Northwestern, where he edited the first fashion supplement.

After graduation, he moved to New York City and shared an apartment with a friend he met at NU, Rachel Sparer. Another NU alum, Jack Taylor, hired him as an assistant account executive in the rapidly growing ad agency Jordan, Case, Taylor & McGrath. There, Filipowski developed a solid understanding of brand strategy and product storytelling in a short period of time.

He heard about KCD through a friend, and when the company landed a big client, he sent partner Kezia Keeble a bouquet with a congratulatory note. The flowers led to a meeting, which led to a job offer. Over the next few years, he gained an understanding of the inner workings of the fashion industry from Keeble, a former Vogue editor. He also learned about fashion criticism from the firm’s other partner, and NU alumnus John Duka (BSJ71), a former style reporter for The New York Times. KCD’s goal was to get fashion covered more seriously in the media beyond tabloid headlines.

In 1990, Filipowski, along with colleague Julie Mannion, informally inherited the firm, working alongside Cavaco following the deaths of Duka and Keeble in 1989 and 1990, respectively. In 1991, Filipowski and Mannion were named partners of the agency, and renamed the firm KCD to honor the founders.

KCD’s celebrated portfolio of clients over the years included names such as Tom Ford, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano at Maison Margiela, Versace, Givenchy, Tory Burch, Helmut Lang,  Anna Sui, Victoria Beckham, Balmain, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Brandon Maxwell,and Prabal Gurung.

“When I’m standing with Sarah Burton at McQueen, and she’s taking me through her thought process, I can’t believe my life. It’s a privilege,” Filipowksi said in his Medill magazine interview.  “I’m very personal and hands-on,” he added. “I tell everybody when they’re hired, ‘We will give back to you double what you give to us, because I want this to be a personally and professionally fulfilling experience for you.’”

He attributed his success at his agency to the knowledge and values he learned at Medill. “If you have good personal and professional values, and you work really hard, and if you’re good to people you work with and meet, it just happens,” he said.

Over the last several years, Filipowski visited Medill numerous times to talk with students about his career, and KCD hosted a Medill journalism residency (JR) student in 2018. He generously supported the Ed Filipowski Student Experience Fund for students on JR and he served as the co-chair of his 35th reunion committee.

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1950s Featured Legacies Legacies

John Bell (BSJ55)

John R. Bell, lifelong Chicago resident and frequent contributor to national financial and real estate magazines, died in January. He was 89.

Chicago Tribune Obituary

Born in Hammond, Ind., John moved to Chicago as a teenager and resided in Chicago ever since. He segued into writing the John Carmichael Texaco Sports Final for CBS Radio, and later to publicize peacetime atomic energy R&D as a member of the first public information staff at Argonne National Laboratory.

While at Argonne, he initiated coverage of the work that Argonne was doing by contacting CBS journalist Charles Collingwood. This resulted in a one-hour program produced and broadcast nationally on CBS.

John also held several corporate PR positions, including at J. Walter Thompson, General Motors, Montgomery Ward and H. Rozoff and Associates. He added real estate and financial writing to his portfolio when H. Rozoff and Associates obtained a number of real estate and financial accounts.

After he retired, he was a frequent contributor to Mortgage Banking, the official magazine of the Mortgage Banking Association, until it ceased publication in 2016. In writing to his editor at that time, he said that “Mortgage Banking was a unique publication—like no other in its field.” She wrote back agreeing that “the magazine was something very special,” adding “you were part of the magazine’s success.”

His articles for Mortgage Banking included coverage of the growth and recovery of the national office market; profile of Wrightwood Capital, the Chicago-based commercial/real estate finance firm; the growth of mixed use developments; the development of business/industrial parks; the nation’s Downtowns going green; multifamily apartment markets; five-star hotel markets; industrial recovery; the move to Downtowns; and economic growth in gateway cities.

He wrote cover stories for the National Real Estate Investor and his cover story profiles of Chrysler’s CEO Robert Eaton and Wilson Sporting Goods executive Jim Bough appeared in Industry Week (IW).

He was also a contributor to Pension Management, the Journal of Property Management (JPM), Progressive Railroading, Flying Careers, Air Cargo World, and Cahners Assembly Magazine.

John enjoyed music, the theater, and raising English Bulldogs—and said he had created the world’s finest barbecue sauce.

He and his wife, Virginia, celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary Sept. 8, 2019. They have two daughters, Monica (John) Muhs and Vanessa (Leon) LaSota; three grand-daughters, Dr. Amanda (Alex) Saratsis, Sara Muhs, and Leigh (AJ) Grimberg; and two great-grandchildren, Beckett and Eva Saratsis.

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/chicagotribune/obituary.aspx?n=john-r-bell&pid=195132717&fhid=2060

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1970s Featured Legacies Legacies

Joseph Aaron (BSJ78)

Joseph Aaron, the longtime publisher and editor-in-chief of the Chicago Jewish News, died Nov. 16, 2019. He was 64.

“He loved that (the newspaper) gave him the forum to tell it like it is,” his brother Maury told the Chicago Tribune. “He said whatever was on his mind, regardless of whether or not it was controversial and regardless of whether it was a family friend. He said what he believed and he did not hold back.”

Born in Chicago, Aaron grew up in West Rogers Park, graduated from Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, and then earned a bachelor’s degree from Medill. He began his career as a reporter for Lerner Newspapers and later was the editor of JUF News, the monthly magazine of the Jewish United Fund.

In 1994, Aaron left the Jewish United Fund to start the Chicago Jewish News, which today has a circulation of about 40,000.

Denise Plessas Kus, the newspaper’s production manager, told the Tribune that Aaron’s weekly columns “showed that he was proud of his Jewish community and every once in a while saddened when it didn’t live up to what he thought they could be.”

Aaron explored the positives for Jewish people in the U.S. today, compared with how Jews have been treated at other times in history, said Rabbi Meir Shimon Moscowitz, regional director of the Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois. Moscowitz is the son of Aaron’s longtime friend Rabbi Danny Moscowitz, who died in 2014.

“He didn’t like people who always found the negative in others,” Moscowitz told the Tribune. “He liked people who found the positive in others. And he kept going at it for years and years, which is not easy. And he wasn’t afraid to say what he thought. He was very open and direct.”

Aaron recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the founding of Chicago Jewish News. Aaron is survived by another brother, Fred; and two sisters, Susie Alter and Sharon Aaron.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/obituaries/ct-joseph-aaron-obituary-20191127-a522ezunenf7tnsdu7ozlxaepi-story.html

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1940s Featured Legacies Legacies

James Robertson Ward (BSJ44)

James R. Ward, 98,  resident of Glen Ellyn for 63 years, passed away on January 24, 2020 at Wynscape Health & Rehabilitation, Wheaton. Ward was born August 12, 1921 in Aurora, Illinois to Rev. Elias and Genevieve (Robertson) Ward. Although his home base was Aurora, he lived in and attended elementary schools in Plattville, Sheridan, Paw Paw and Hampshire; he graduated from Plainfield High School in 1938.

At Northwestern University he joined the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and became a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and the Deru Society; he served as editor of the Daily Northwestern in 1941. WWII interrupted his senior year studies as he worked in the Office of Civilian Defense-Youth Division as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s staff. In 1942 he then graduated from Northwestern and also received a commission as a Navy officer.

Ward served as an aviation specialist stateside and later in the South Pacific as lieutenant fight director on the USS Bataan (CVL-29) until 1945. Following the war, he returned to Northwestern to complete his Master of Science in journalism in 1949; his first job was writing news for CBS in Chicago. He transitioned to work as special assistant to the president of Hotpoint and later was with R. H Donnelly/Donnelly Marketing’s (Oakbrook) as Midwest sales manager for 32 years. Following “retirement” in 1986, he purchased Hinsdale Travel which he continued to own until 1996. He then shifted to selling farm real estate with Coleman Land Company (St. Charles) from which he fully retired in 2007 at the age of 86.

Ward married Mary Lorena (Marilo) Lotts (Mendota & Ottawa) in 1947; they were together 41 years until her death in 1988. JoAnn (Hickey) Williams (Glen Ellyn) and Jim were married in 1989 until her death in 2009.

He had many interests and supported many organizations through his active participation. These included: founding the Lake Ellyn Yacht Club, First Methodist Church of Glen Ellyn, Wheaton Community Radio Amateurs (call sign W9DHX), Boy Scouts of America, American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), Skål International travel, Clan Donnachaidh Society (Scottish heritage), Sheridan Historical Society, Northwestern University’s John Evans Club, and The Chicago Farmers for which he was international travel coordinator for many years.
Jim is survived by his special friend Jeannine Warkow of Winfield, Illinois. Additional survivors include two sons, Jeffrey Ward (Dr. Julie Bjoraker) of Dover, Minnesota and Dr. Robertson Ward (Diane) of Provo, Utah. He is also survived by three grandchildren, Caryn Ward Lantz (Charles) of Burnsville, Minnesota, Brandon Ward (Cielle) of Parker, Colorado, and Shane Ward (Carly) of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and six great-grandchildren. Jim is also survived by a much-loved extended family.

Ward was also preceded in death by his parents, one stepbrother, and three stepsisters.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Medill School of Journalism, c/o Northwestern University, Alumni Relations and Development, 1201 Davis St, Evanston, Illinois 60208 or the Sheridan Historical Society Museum, 185 N. Robinson St., Sheridan, Illinois, 60551.

Photo: Jim Ward at the Daily Northwestern. Tribute and photo provided by Jeff Ward. 

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2000s Featured Legacies Legacies

Adam Amaro (BSJ07, MSJ07)

Adam Amaro died in January 2020.  Most recently he had been living in Portland, Oregon working at  KOIN-TV as a news producer. He produced the weekend 5:30, 6:00 and 11 p.m. newscasts and collaborated with reporters, managers, anchors, photographers, editors, and graphics artists to create powerful and informative shows.  Prior to moving to Portland he was a producer at KTBC-TV in Austin where he produced the 9 p.m. hour-long newscast. He also field produced various “7 On Your Side” pieces.

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1950s Featured Legacies

Charles E. Hayes (MSJ55)

Charles E. Hayes, who reported on suburban Chicago and real estate for over 3 decades, died Jan. 3, 2020. He was born March 13, 1931, in Evanston, IL, and graduated from Maine Township High School, where he was editor of the student newspaper. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg College in Ohio,  where he was editor of the student newspaper and a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. In 1955 he received his master’s from Medill.

In 1954, while completing work on his graduate degree, Mr. Hayes was hired by Paddock Publications as a reporter for its weekly newspaper, but he rose through the ranks to become first news then editor, managing editor, executive editor, vice president and finally editor in chief. Under his leadership, the Paddock newspapers became pioneers in the emerging suburban press and grew in frequency from weekly to daily.

In 1975, Mr. Hayes joined the Chicago Tribune as editor of the Suburban Trib supplements. He also served on the editorial board and as real estate editor. In 1992, he received a SAMMY Award from the Sales and Marketing Council of Greater Chicago for his coverage of the Chicago housing industry.

“His writing was just awesome. He was a lovely, lovely writer and as his real estate editor, I appreciated him not just because he was an excellent writer who did not require much editing on my part, but because he also knew his subject matter so well and so deeply,” Sallie Gaines, a retired Tribune editor told the Tribune. “He was able to explain it clearly and in a manner that was interesting.”

After his retirement, he wrote for the Copley suburban daily newspaper. Mr. Hayes has served as president of the Chicago Headline Club (Society of Professional Journalists-Sigma Delta Chi) and the Suburban Press Club. He was a member of numerous regional and national journalism societies, including the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Chicago Press Club, and Suburban Press Foundation advisory council.

Hayes’ work with Chicago’s suburban latinx community also received recognition. He is the founder and past president of the Opportunity Council, Inc., an adult education program for Spanish-speaking migrant workers. Hayes received honorary membership from the League of United Latin American Citizens in recognition of his efforts on behalf of suburban Hispanics.

He is survived by his nieces, great-nephews, and his good friends.

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dailyherald/obituary.aspx?n=charles-e-hayes&pid=195334261

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1970s Featured Legacies

Michael Podracky (BSJ75)

Michael Lawrence Podracky, 66, died Jan. 25, 2020. He was born on Jan. 30, 1953 and married Susan King on March 18, 1978 and raised two daughters, Dana and Erin.

Friends remember Podracky for his boundless energy, his unrelenting drive in achieving his goals, his sense of adventure, and his generous and thoughtful spirit. He grew up fishing on Lake Erie with his dad and carried that passion throughout his whole life, passing it on to his own grandsons. He loved running, especially with his daughter, Dana, and often beat her in races. He travelled the world, visiting more places in the last few years than most people get to in their lifetime, but his favorite trips were the ones he took with his daughters. He was a lover of fine dining for dinner and Milk Duds for dessert and he enjoyed watching Cleveland sports as much as a Broadway musical. His greatest love in life though was his family. He never missed an opportunity to babysit his grandsons. He often showed up with surprise coffee and flowers for no reason at all. His most used expression in life was, “Dad is proud of you.”

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1950s Featured Legacies Legacies

Joseph Blade (BSJ55, MSJ56)

Joseph Blade, a longtime reporter at the Minneapolis Star and Star Tribune, died Nov. 23, 2019 at the age of 85.

Born April 13, 1934, in Oklahoma, Blade began working as a reporter at his high school paper, then attended Medill on a full scholarship.

Blade joined the U.S. Army and spent time overseas in the 50s. But his heart lay with journalism, leading him to write stories and instigate change upon return for over four decades.

In 1975, Blade uncovered mistreatment of patients and financial mismanagement at River Villa, Minnesota’s largest privately owned nursing home, leading to five convictions, prison sentences and increased state regulations of nursing homes.

His investigative work “consumed” him, his partner of 47 years, Ann Burckhardt told the Star Tribune. She added,“when he was on somebody’s trail, it absolutely took over his life.”

Blade would often rent a motel room where he could spread out boxes of paperwork, toiling “night and day till he had the details he sought,” Burckhardt said.

Blade later wrote an award winning series about job satisfaction. He retired in 1990.

Blade and Burkhardt met at the Star Tribune, where she was a longtime reporter and editor for the Taste section.

Blade is survived by Ann Burckhardt and brothers Bill and Richard.

http://www.startribune.com/joseph-blade-reporter-and-world-traveler-dies-at-85/566478452/?refresh=true

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1970s Featured Legacies Legacies

John Witkauskas (BSJ70)

John Witkauskas, died January 24, 2020 at the age of 71. He was born in Sheboygan on February 20, 1948. John attended local schools and graduated from Sheboygan South High School in 1966. He then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Medill. After college, John worked for Delta Airlines in Chicago for over 20 years visiting many countries around the world. Following retirement from Delta, John worked at Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic school in Sheboygan. While there, he also reorganized and updated the school library system. John was known for his enthusiastic and upbeat personality. He enjoyed collecting old postcards, books, and movies. He also liked to spend time with family and friends. John’s life was well lived, and happy.

He is survived by his sisters, Sandy and Mary; his niece Rebecca; and three nephews: Chris, Paul, and Mike. He is further survived by many cousins and friends.

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sheboyganpress/obituary.aspx?n=john-p-witkauskas&pid=195191366&fhid=14120