Obituaries are listed chronologically by order of notification.
College of Media | Obituaries
John F. Fred Speck Jr. '77 JOURN
John F. Fred Speck Jr. '77 JOURN
Music lover, baseball fan, attorney and journalist Fred Speck was remembered by nearly 40 former Daily Illini staff members recently at a memorial gathering in Oak Park, Ill. Speck, 57, Daily Illini sports editor/columnist and 1977 journalism graduate, died of a heart attack Dec. 6, 2012, at his home in Chicago. The memorial was held in conjunction with opening day at Wrigley Field, where Speck was a season ticket holder.
Speck was born July 29, 1955, in Elgin, Ill., and grew up in nearby Barrington. He played varsity basketball while attending Barrington High School. After graduating from Illinois, Speck earned a law degree from DePaul University in Chicago, and was an attorney in private practice for more than 30 years in the Chicago area.
Fred was a dogged reporter and insightful editor, and, out of the office, was the life of the party. He was opinionated and outgoing, very much his own person, but he was also a lot of fun to be around. I think everyone on the staff considered him a friend, recalled Pat Wingert Kelly (Journalism 1977), Daily Illini editor-in-chief in 1976-77 and former Newsweek reporter in Washington D.C. She also said that Speck had been in touch with her throughout fall 2012 to plan a Daily Illini reunion. This is the reunion Fred wanted to have, she told guests from across the country in April at the home of Sher Watts Spooner (LAS Speech Communications 1976) in Oak Park, Ill.
Fred helped me practice law, said Diane Marie Amann (Journalism 1979), 1978-79 editor-in-chief and now Emily and Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law at the University of Georgia School of Law. Amann recalled her first-ever appearance in court, while she was still a law student. Speck, already an attorney, happened to be in the courtroom. After calling Amanns case, the judge refused to let her speak without her teacher present, and then proceeded to rule against her client. Afterwards, almost in tears, I turned and bolted toward the doors, Amann said. Fred caught up with me and said, Theyre all assholes, Diane. Its better you learn that sooner rather than later.
Speck also had a love of music and a huge sense of humor. In 1975, Pat Embry, editorial director at Magellan Press/Local Eats, Nashville, Tenn. (Journalism 1979), applied to The Daily Illini sports department when Speck was sports editor. I go into his office and he's eating a hot fudge sundae, Embry told the Chicago Sun-Times Dave Hoekstra. He goes, You want to write, huh? Name all the Rolling Stones. So I rip off all the names of the Rolling Stones and he says, You're in.
Alumni at the memorial recalled Specks singing in a northwest suburban band called Moon Helmet and solo outings, in costume, covering Mick Jagger. He enjoyed friends from coast to coast and traveled often to be with them. He loved life, good food and spirits at the Italian Village in Chicago, being a Chicago Cubs fan, reading newspapers and magazines, Winston Churchill, The Andy Griffith Show, the Rolling Stones, Merle Haggard, and country music played in honky-tonks and bars.
Sports Illustrated spotlighted his affection for the Cubs in a 2008 cover piece on the then-contending team. The magazine used his quote on the issues cover: If the Cubs win it all, Ill cry like a baby and laugh like a hyena for a week.
Speck was a four-year staff member of The Daily Illini, and quickly got bylines during his freshman year. As a junior in 1975-76, he served as sports editor. At that time, The Daily Illini was Urbana-Champaigns only morning newspaper, so it enjoyed increased readership outside the university community for news and sports coverage. Speck and his staff covered Illinois athletics with a critical eye, sometimes earning the ire of athletic department officials.
As a senior, Speck received the John T. Trebilcock Award for investigative reporting.
Friends from Wrigley Field held a memorial brunch prior to the Cubs home opener on April 8, and a private memorial took place in Barrington, Ill., on April 6.
Speck was preceded in death by his mother, Ellen Speck, and father John F. Speck Sr. Survivors include older sisters Sarah (Doug McLennan) Speck, Martha (Steve) Brown, and Beth Speck, as well as niece Kate Speck and nephew John Trupin. Barrington Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Mary Campbell '56 JOURN, whose childhood affection for the big bands and opera she heard on her radio set the stage for four decades as a music writer for The Associated Press, died Friday Oct. 19. She was 78. Campbell died in Bloomington, Ind., according to her sister, Ruth Miller. From symphony to rock 'n' roll, from Duke Ellington to Beverly Sills to the Dixie Chicks, Campbell covered the entertainment scene, earning respect from the artists she wrote about and devotion from the public who followed her profiles and reviews. "Mary Campbell is a most admired reporter, not only because she writes so well but also because she knows an interesting story when she hears about it," celebrated conductor-tenor Placido Domingo once said. At a party for the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary in the 1990s, Mary Travers politely greeted the many luminaries in attendance but spent much of the evening huddled in a corner with Campbell, catching up with her old friend. "It will be hard to think of The Associated Press without Mary Campbell on its staff," said crooner Tony Bennett upon her retirement in 2000.
Sheldon Hoffenberg '60 JOURN passed away the weekend of June 30 after a short battle with cancer. He was 74. ABC7 Chicago shares the following: ABC7 is mourning the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Sheldon Hoffenberg, who we all called Shelly. You didn't see him on TV, but you saw and heard his work here on ABC7 for the past 34 years. Shelly was a newswriter and producer. He began his career in print journalism, working for the old City News Bureau. Certainly, the highlight of his work week here was producing our Newsviews interview segment seen during ABC7's Sunday morning news. Shelly worked with his colleagues at ABC7 for many years, and you would have to look far to find anyone more passionate about politics than Shelly. He set up the interviews with senators and representatives, mayors and future presidents. He wanted to make sure they were held accountable to you - and he did. Shelly passed away this weekend after a short battle with cancer. He was 74. We will miss him - and so will you. (Copyright 2012 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
Dorothy "Daw" Hopkins was a trusted assistant to longtime Chicago entertainment columnist Maggie Daly for more than two decades. Ms. Hopkins, 87, died of natural causes Wednesday, April 18, at the Westmoreland Nursing Center in Lake Forest.
Lura Hazel Crossley passed away peacefully at her home in Greenbrae, March 5, 2012 at 87. Lura graduated with honors from the University of Illinois with a Journalism degree.
Russell Ruck W. Steger 50 JOURN
Russell “Ruck” W. Steger ’50 JOURN passed away on August 27, 2011, at the age of 85. He is remembered not only as a distinguished alumnus of the college but also as a standout student athlete in both baseball and football, a former Board of Trustees member, a Chicago Sports Hall of Famer, and an entertaining story-teller. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Illinois Alumni Association in 1998.
Karin Dovring, Ph.D., resident of Urbana and a specialist in propaganda analysis, was born in Sweden on Dec. 5, 1919, and died on Sunday (Aug. 7, 2011) at her home in Urbana.
She was the author of the world classic book "Road of Propaganda."
She lectured in many universities around the world and in the Vatican in Rome. She was invited to the United States in the mid-1950s by Harold D. Lasswell of Yale Law School and worked as his close associate in his intelligence work for the United States of America in Washington, D.C.
She is survived by a sister, Kerstin Dovring of Stockholm, Sweden.
Karin Dovring was married to Folke Dovring, who was a specialist in agricultural economics in the United Nations Department in Rome and who retired as a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He predeceased her.
All Karin Dovring's published and unpublished works are available in the "Karin Dovring Collection" at the College of Media at the UI in Urbana-Champaign. Research utilization of her works is under the supervision and permission of the Dean of the College of Media.
Eleanor Blum '58 PhD COMM
Eleanor Blum '58 PhD COMM was the first woman to receive her PhD from the College of Media and the Institute of Communications Research. Born in 1909, she was 102 when she passed away on Thursday July 7. Eleanor worked as the Head Librarian at the Communications Library and received emerita status upon retirement in 1977. Dr. Blum continued to publish her bibliographies of the field well into her retirement.
Alfred M. Gertler '47 JOURN
Alfred M. Gertler '47 JOURN, Aug. 22, San Francisco.
Edwin Jahiel, cinema studies professor, Dec. 14, Urbana, at age 85.
James J. Dickey '48 JOURN
James J. Dickey '48 JOURN, '48 BUS, Nov. 7, Champaign.
Karna Bloomberg Peterson '57 JOURN
Karna Bloomberg Peterson '57 JOURN, Oct. 10, Lincoln, Neb.
Keith W. Vezensky '74 ADV
Keith W. Vezensky '74 ADV, Dec. 14, Beverly Hills, Calif.
Phillips Talbot '36 JOURN
Phillips Talbot '36 JOURN, '36 LAS, an American pioneer in the field of Asia studies, died Oct. 1 in New York City. He was 95.
Joseph Arndt '41 JOURN
Joseph Arndt '41 JOURN, Feb. 18, Las Cruces, N.M.
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