Saturday, August 27, 2011

Longtime Examiner newsman Gale Cook dies

Gale Cook
Gale Cook, who covered the Zebra murders among other major stories in his four decades at the San Francisco Examiner, died in his sleep Tuesday at his home in San Rafael. He was 92.

From the Marin Independent Journal obit:
    As a reporter, he covered stories ranging from the 1953 Korean War prisoner exchange and the 1974 trial of four black Muslims convicted of the Zebra murders in San Francisco to five executions in what he considered "torture" in San Quentin's gas chamber. He was honored by Common Cause for a 1978 series on how campaign contributions influence state legislators. 
    Jim Finefrock, who worked under Mr. Cook in San Francisco and with him as a reporting colleague in Sacramento, called him an easy-going, inspiring gentleman with exceptional people skills, a "reporters' editor" quite unlike the hard-bitten, barking Hollywood caricature. … 
    Jim Houck, former news editor of the Examiner, recalled that Mr. Cook was a stellar leader who built the backbone of a legendary reporting staff, and hired the paper's first black and Asian reporters, along with "young hotshots, oddballs and geniuses."
The Chronicle obit notes that Cook was married 68 years to Helen B. Cook, who predeceased him by 17 months. (Photo credit: Courtesy of Jennifer Cook Sterling via SFGate.com)

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