Richard Henry Fogel, 86, longtime newspaper editor and co-founder of San Francisco's Bay City News Service, died on Sept. 9, 2009, in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
A passionate advocate on issues relating to the public's right to access government information, Fogel worked tirelessly with other prominent journalists and news organizations across the country to craft the basic principles of what would later become the landmark Freedom of Information Act (Public Law 89-554, 80 Stat. 383).
Regarded as a legend among San Francisco Bay Area journalists, Fogel received the prestigious Northern California Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
Born April 29, 1923, in Santa Monica, California, Richard Fogel, known to friends and colleagues as "Dick," was the younger of two sons of Moe Miller Fogel and Syndie Aileen Gardner Fogel.
After graduating from Beverly Hills High School in 1941, Fogel enrolled at Stanford University but deferred his college education to enlist in the U.S. Army after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. During WWII, he saw action in Italy's North Apennines and Po Valley campaigns, where he served as a gunner on a 155 mm "Long Tom" rifle in the 530th Field Artillery Battalion, Fifth Army. Later, he was transferred to Rome, where he became a news correspondent and sports editor for the army's Stars and Stripes newspaper, Mediterranean edition.
After the war, Fogel returned to Stanford, where he served as night editor for the Stanford Daily and interned as a reporter for the San Francisco News. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1947, Fogel worked as a correspondent and staff writer for United Press International (UPI) in San Francisco, Honolulu, Fresno, and Salt Lake City.
In 1948, Fogel moved to Oakland, Calif., and joined the Oakland Tribune as a copy editor. Over the next three decades he worked his way up through the company, being promoted to night editor, city night editor, news editor, Sunday editor, assistant managing editor, managing editor, and executive editor.
Throughout his career, Fogel garnered numerous awards for excellence in journalism, including the James Madison Freedom of Information Career Achievement Award (1989), the Public Service Award for Distinguished Reporting on the Administration of Justice from the State Bar Association of California (1975), the Contra Costa Press Club Award (1970), and the Editor
and Publisher Newspaper Promotion Award (1967).