Hal Shanahan, 85, a retired Blade sports writer who covered two of his favorite activities - bowling and golfing - but who reported on most sports at every level, died Saturday in University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio Hospital.
The cause of death was not known, but he was in poor health for several years, the result of severe depression, his wife, Nora, said.
Mr. Shanahan, a South Toledo resident, retired in 1989 after more than 27 years as a Toledo sports writer, first for the former Toledo Times, but mostly for The Blade.
"Hal was just a really nice man, a really good guy," said Dennis Horger, a retired sports department colleague who played golf with him for more than 20 years.
"He was sort of The Blade sports department's utility infielder," Mr. Horger said. "He was never a star, but no matter what he covered, he did a good job. He was the last guy to cover small colleges as a beat."
Some fall football Saturdays, though, he covered Notre Dame or University of Michigan or Ohio State football. Sundays might find him at a Detroit Lions or Cleveland Browns game.
He covered horse racing at Raceway Park, hockey at the former Toledo Sports Arena, and the Mud Hens baseball team when they played at Ned Skeldon Stadium. He covered the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians.
"No matter what you threw at him, he did a good job," Mr. Horger said.
Mr. Shanahan, a bowler since the early 1950s, started to write about the sport for The Blade in the early 1970s. He covered Toledo stops on the PBA national tour. He covered the annual PBA National Championships at the former Imperial Lanes from their start in 1981 and wrote about such luminaries of the sport as Earl Anthony and Pete Weber.
"Those people became friends with my dad," his son, Thomas, said.
Tournament officials and bowlers "all treated Hal like royalty, as well they should have," Blade sports writer Dave Hackenberg said. "The Blade had some of the best bowling writing in the country, thanks to Hal."
Mr. Shanahan covered The Blade Queens Traveling League and the former Times, later The Blade, Traveling Men's Classic. In his Sunday columns and in his articles during the week, he also wrote about the local bowlers in the local leagues.
"For my dad covering bowling, these were guys just like him," his son said. "They liked to go to the lanes, and they liked the game. This was what he loved. He was a simple, down-to-earth kind of guy, and those are the kind of people he liked to associate with."
Younger bowlers aspired to be in the Traveling Classic league, knowing that their names would be in the paper every week, said Steve Jakubowski, manager of Jug's Bowling Center.
Wherever the bowlers traveled - Monroe, Napoleon - "he made the trip to cover the league," said Mr. Jakubowski, a member of the league in the 1980s.
Mr. Shanahan made appearances at awards dinners for men, women, and youth bowlers.
"He covered so many aspects of bowling and was willing to give it time," Mr. Jakubowski said.
One league that bowled at the former Showcase Lanes created the "Hal Shanahan Sportsmanship Award," presented annually. Each year's winner's name was on a plaque in the lobby.
In the summer, Mr. Shanahan covered local golf tournaments, and he knew club professionals. He covered major tournaments when they came to Toledo - the U.S. Amateur, the U.S. Open, the PGA, and the early years of the LPGA's Jamie Farr tournament.
"He was a wonderful ambassador for The Blade on the local sports scene," Mr. Horger said.
Young colleagues learned professionalism from him, said Mr. Hackenberg, who began at The Blade in the late 1970s - "how to cultivate and approach sources, how to report accurately and fairly."
Born Harold L. Shanahan on April 8, 1924, in Gillespie, Ill., he was an Army veteran of World War II and an Air Force veteran of the Korean War. He was a journalism graduate of the University of Missouri, Columbia.
He worked at newspapers in Ogdensburg, N.Y., and Lancaster, Ohio. At the News-Messenger in Fremont, he was sports editor and assistant managing editor.
He was formerly married to Barbara Shanahan and the late Dorothy Petee.
Surviving are his wife, Nora, whom he married in January, 1992; son, Thomas Shanahan; daughters, Susan Parnell and Deborah Hackathorn; stepdaughter, Linda Ruiz; stepson, David Deerwester; sisters, Anna Margaret Lipsey and Alice Rioux; brother, Richard Shanahan; four grandchildren; three step-grandchildren, and a step-great-grandson.
The body will be in the Ansberg-West Funeral Home after 2 p.m. today, with a recitation of the Rosary at 7 tonight in the mortuary. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow in St. Patrick of Heatherdowns Church, where he was a member.
The family suggests tributes to a charity of the donor's choice.