UPI's Obit on Tom McGann

Here's the Jan. 5, 2000, obit written by UPI on veteran Unipresser Tom McGann:


Longtime Unipresser McGann dies

CHICAGO, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Longtime UPI writer, editor and dog-lover Tom McGann, who trained scores of young journalists, committed suicide, apparently despondent over the death of his wife, Adele, and diminishing eyesight.

McGann was 72.

McGann was found dead Tuesday in his bed in his North Side home McGann's daughter, Sheila Cassella, said the body was discovered by her husband, Bob.

"A mutual friend had called in the morning and told my father she was going to pick up one of the dogs," Sheila Cassella said. "When she came, there was no answer. She called me.

"Bob works only a few minutes away and has house keys. So he went over and my father left notes. One on bedroom door said, 'Do not open. Call 911.'" Cassella said McGann shot himself.

"He was going blind and he was very depressed about that. He was very depressed about my mother dying two years ago," she said, adding, however, she had no forewarning.

Probably one of the fastest two-finger typists in the wire service business, McGann began his career in United Press's New York bureau. The Lyndhurst, N.J., native relocated to Chicago in 1958 when United Press International moved its national broadcast desk from New York to Chicago. He left UPI in 1982 during a wave of management layoffs.

"Tom and I worked together for 25 years and I yield to no one in respect for Tom as a person and as a newsman," former UPI Managing Editor Bill Ferguson said. "We have all lost a friend without warning."

Paul K. Harral, vice president and editorial director at the Fort Worth, Texas, Star-Telegram said, "Tom was a gifted writer with the ability to turn an excellent phrase that would stick in your mind. And watching him type under deadline pressure was worth the price of admission. But what I most admired about him were his wide-ranging interests. Some of my favorite memories of Chicago were of evenings spent at his apartment reading plays. And he also taught me how to hang wallpaper. How can you adequately describe a man like that?"

"I knew Tom when I was breaking in as a cub. . .and the greatest accolade I can give him was not only that he was a wonderful, humorous, kindly and genuinely funny guy but he was a real --- newsman," former colleague Ed McCarthy said.

Sue Stevens, who worked with McGann on the wire's legendary national broadcast desk in Chicago, described him as "an artful broadcast writer."

"He taught us all a lot," she said.

McGann, an Army veteran, and his wife raised Scottish terriers and both were active in the Scottish Terrier Association of Chicago. Cassella said over the years, they must have had a dozen dogs.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by a sister, Margaret Petrocelli of Belleville, N.J.

A wake was scheduled for Thursday at the Barr Funeral Home, 6222 N. Broadway, Chicago, 3-7 p.m.

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