Decatur newspaper veteran Bob Fallstrom dies at age 88

DECATUR, Ill. (AP) Veteran newspaper editor Bob Fallstrom, who in his 66 years with the Herald and Review in Decatur served as a reporter, sports writer and editor, has died at age 88.

Fallstrom died Thursday of complications following emergency surgery, the newspaper reported (http://bit.ly/1NSXR0e ). He retired two weeks ago.

Fallstrom unashamedly called himself the paper's ''good news editor,'' and wrote positive stories about any achievement by a resident of central Illinois willing to share their tale.

''My theory is that if someone calls, I don't care who it is, I will do the story if I possibly can,'' Fallstrom said recently in describing his mission.

Managing editor Dave Dawson called Fallstrom a ''talking encyclopedia'' of central Illinois history.

''I will miss hearing his daily telephone conversations, most of them polite,'' Dawson said. ''Sometimes, the caller wanted him to do something that Bob considered negative, and he would tell them, `I'm sorry, I only write good news.' "

Born and raised in Dixon, Fallstrom was an usher at the local movie theater following high school. There, the manager heard him dreaming out loud about working at a newspaper.

The manager helped Fallstrom land part-time work at the Dixon Evening Telegraph, where he typed military briefs during World War II. After a stint in the Army, Fallstrom rejoined the Evening Telegraph before moving to the Herald and Review in 1949.

''I never went to college, and the Herald wouldn't take anyone who didn't have a college degree,'' Fallstrom said. ''But they took me. I broke the rule, and I've been here ever since.''

In addition to his newspaper duties, Fallstrom was past president of the Macon County Historical Society and an inductee into the Decatur Athletic Council Hall of Fame as well as the Illinois Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame.

Fallstrom's wife, June, died in 2000. He is survived by six children, including Associated Press sportswriter R.B. Fallstrom of St. Louis.

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Information from: Herald & Review, http://www.herald-review.com

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