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Published: Wednesday, 7/6/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Charles W. Gilmore, 1917-2011: Toledo Times editor was a Blade reporter

BY NOLAN ROSENKRANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Many knew Charles W. Gilmore from his bylines that graced the newspaper stories he wrote in Georgia, the series he penned in Toledo, and the editorials he authored in California.

But though he spent four decades pounding out stories for newspapers and wire services, he left his reporter role at the office, family members said, and focused when at home on being a father.

“He didn’t really give his opinion, because he had written about it all day,” stepdaughter Kathy Hill said. “He wanted to hear what his kids thought about it.”

Mr. Gilmore, who died last month in California at age 94, served 12 years as editor of the Toledo Times, heading the paper from 1959 until 1970.

Before that, he was a political reporter for the Times and covered city and county government for the Blade.

The Williamsport, Pa., native would frequently write series in the Toledo papers, and the articles were often promoted with his name. A six-part series called “The Private Eye in Toledo” followed the men who caught criminals in Toledo.

“If you are a ‘whodunit’ fan (and who isn’t?) you will want to read every one of this series,” the Times told readers.

Another series explaining the rights of criminal defendants, won him awards from Ohio newspaper and law associations. Mr. Gilmore wrote about being your own boss, dangerous railroad crossings, an understaffed homicide unit, and a performance by Louis Armstrong.

Mr. Gilmore died June 1 in Monterey, Calif., after he suffered a brain aneurysm, stepdaughter Terry Wiegand said.

Mr. Gilmore lived in Perrysburg while working for Toledo newspapers. He married there for a second time, gaining stepdaughters Ms. Hill and Ms. Wiegand. He had a daughter, Glynne Barbier, from a previous marriage.

Mr. Gilmore rarely spoke to his children about his job, about the stories he was working on, about the famous people he met. His daughters don’t remember Mr. Gilmore the reporter, but Mr. Gilmore the father. He was an intelligent man, they said, and very caring.

Ms. Wiegand remembers her stepfather driving her to the hospital when she was 18 for a surgery on her finger. Though she would soon leave for California and lose most contact with her family for years, she remembered he stayed with her throughout the surgery. She woke from the operation to see his face over her.

“I could just see the care on his face,” she said.

Mr. Gilmore’s career as a newspaperman started in 1938 in Georgia, where he wrote for the Atlanta Constitution and later the Atlanta bureau of the Associated Press. One of his favorite memories as a reporter was covering the premiere of the movie rendition of Gone with the Wind in 1939. He later met the novel’s author, Margaret Mitchell, a writer for a competing newspaper, the Atlanta Journal.

When he told his children stories about meeting her, though, he never included himself, instead focusing on the author.

“He was very modest,” Ms. Wiegand said. “I think that was the reporter in him.”

Mr. Gilmore was born in Williamsport, Pa., on April 16, 1917.

He served as a lieutenant in the Navy during World War II. His duties as a press officer sometimes included screening letters written by seamen to ensure no sensitive military information leaked from the ship. Ever the stickler for good writing, he’d return dispatches to their authors with tips for improvement.

“Their writing was so terrible,” Ms. Hill said. “So he would go to them and try to help them to rewrite a nice letter to their girlfriend.”

He served a second stint at the Associated Press. In the late 1940s, he was awarded the prestigious Nieman Fellowship in Journalism at Harvard University, for which he felt great honor.

From there, he moved to Toledo. He joined the Toledo Times staff as a reporter in 1948. In the late 1950s, he became a Blade reporter, covering the county courthouse and city hall.

He later took an editing position at the Monterey Peninsula Herald, where he worked until his retirement in 1986. He once was awarded the state’s best editorial by the California Newspaper Publishers Association.

After retirement, he spent time in both North Carolina with Ms. Hill and in Monterey with Ms. Barbier.

His legacy as a reporter will live on in newspaper and library archives. But his legacy as a father lives on in his children’s memories.

“He was a great dad,” Ms. Hill said. “It was all more childhood memories, rather than writing in the paper.”

Surviving are his daughter, Glynne Barbier, and stepdaughters, Kathy Hill and Terry Wiegand.

Memorial services were in Monterey.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at:
nrosenkrans@theblade.com
or 419-724-6086.



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