Obit on Retired Asia Executive Earnest Hoberecht

Here's the UPI obit on retired Asia executive Earnest Hoberecht, who died Sept. 22, 1999:


WATONGA, Okla., Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Earnest Hoberecht, a retired United Press International vice president and general manager for Asia and war correspondent in four wars, died Wednesday. He was 81.

The longtime UPI executive and reporter died at the Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City from natural causes.

As a war correspondent for United Press and later for UPI, Hoberecht covered World War II in the Pacific, the Korean War, the China War and the Vietnam war. He reported the formal signings that ended two wars.

At the end of the World War II, the native of Watonga, Okla., was aboard the battleship Missouri when the Japanese surrendered, and he was in a battlefield tent near the enemy lines when the Korean Armistice was signed.

Called "Asia Ernie" by his colleagues, Hoberecht was a best-selling author with books and articles published in both English and Japanese.

Hoberecht accompanied Gen. Douglas MacArthur to many Pacific battlefields during World War II and later was a friend of the late James A. Michener, who once wrote an article about the Oklahoman's life in the Far East.

UP promoted him to general manager for Asia in 1948, and named him vice president and general manager of Asia in 1953. He retired in 1966 to return to raise his family in Watonga, where he grew up.

He wrote last year that one of his "great memories" was an impartial survey conducted by the International Press Institute when he was in charge of the Asia operation that concluded UPI "had the best news coverage of Asia."

When he returned to Oklahoma, Hoberecht became chairman and president of Blaine County Abstract Co., president of Earnest Hoberecht Insurance Agency, and chairman of Watonga Abstract Co.

In 1972, Hoberecht was elected to the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame. He was voted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1977. The University of Oklahoma awarded him its highest honor in 1989, the Distinguished Service Citation.

Survivors include his wife, Mary Ann Hoberecht, four children, four stepchildren, and 17 grandchildren.