Frank C. Venner III, a four-decade veteran of the Toledo news media who began his broadcasting career before the rise of television, died Friday at his home in Toledo. He was 85.
Mr. Venner died after a brief battle with cancer, family members said.
"He was a very traditional newsman. He believed wholeheartedly in hunting down the facts and conveying those facts to the public," described his son, David Venner. "That was his true passion."
Mr. Venner began his broadcasting career at WSPD, the local radio and television station whose TV side later became WTVG.
During his 40 years at the station, he traveled to Rome to cover the 1960 Summer Olympics as an announcer and broadcast the popular "Weather-in-the-Weather" show from the former Commodore Perry Hotel.
He also was host for the High School Quiz program for a quarter century, was a co-anchor of the Venner-Ward Report, and was editorial director and news director before his retirement.
Mr. Venner was born March 8, 1927, in Baltimore. He lived in Providence, R.I., and Binghamton, N.Y., before his father's job brought the family to Toledo in 1940.
Mr. Venner graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1944 and went on to attend the University of Notre Dame, graduating with the class of 1949 after taking a year off in 1946 to serve in the Army Air Corps.
While in South Bend, Mr. Venner began working at the Notre Dame radio station. His father and grandfather had both been "career IBMers," said his son, but Mr. Venner was always drawn to the news.
Mr. Venner's dedication to the news and his audience was exemplified by an ad for WTVG's nightly news that appeared in TV Guide magazine in 1977. It quoted Mr. Venner saying, "You have to go into every show convinced you like the people you're working with and love the people you're working to. And without that ingredient of love, you're going to turn out to be a phony."
"Integrity was primary in all that he did. His word was his bond," recalled Gordon Ward, a retired newscaster who worked with Mr. Venner at WTVG and remained one of Mr. Venner's closest friends after both men left the station.
He recalled that Mr. Venner had frequently traveled to Washington to interview members of Congress and presidential administrations, an assignment he relished.
His love for political reporting foreshadowed his own brief foray into politics, in 1984.
That year, Mr. Venner took a break from broadcasting to run as the Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, opposing U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) in the 9th District. Although he lost 55 percent to 44 percent, his challenge gave the 14-term congressman her closest margin of victory to date.
Mr. Venner maried the former Ruth Blank in 1952. She died in 1996.
They had six children and 11 grandchildren, who became his focus after retirement in 1988.
With family scattered across the country -- in California, Texas, Colorado, Illinois, and North Carolina, as well as Ohio -- Mr. Venner spent much of his time visiting them.
"He had a large family and stayed in touch with them," said Mr. Ward. "Other than playing tennis, his family was his hobby."
Surviving are Mr. Venner's sons, Michael, Daniel, Martin, Jonathan, and David; his daughter Lisa, and eleven grandchildren.
The family will receive visitors at the Walker Funeral Home, 5155 W. Sylvania Ave, from 5 to 8 p.m. on Monday. Funeral services are to begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Gesu Church, 2049 Parkside Blvd.
The family suggests tributes to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio or the Toledo Animal Shelter.
Contact Jessica Shor at: email@example.com or 419-724-6516.