Frank P. Haven; Ex-Times Managing Editor

Frank P. Haven, who was managing editor of the Los Angeles Times for more than 14 years, has died. He was 81.

Haven died Sunday night of pneumonia at the San Gabriel Mission Lodge Nursing Home, his stepdaughter, Jody Richards, said Monday.

On The Times' staff for 37 years, Haven began his career at the newspaper as a $9-per-day copy editor in 1941.

He was named managing editor in charge of all the news departments Dec. 1, 1963, and remained in that post until his retirement April 3, 1978.

Known as a tough, no-nonsense boss who could make hard decisions in a hurry, Haven nevertheless had his soft spots when it came to the needs of his staff.

A young copy editor in bankruptcy when he was hired failed to qualify for aid from the employee assistance foundation because he was not yet a permanent staffer. But Haven, who had barely met the new recruit, immediately co-signed a $5,000 credit union loan for him. When the debt was repaid, Haven sent the man a brief note: "As you meet people going through life, you win with some and you lose with some. Congratulations, Frank."

Haven worked for The Times as a reporter in the mid-1940s, but spent most of his career correcting writers' misspellings, bad leads or misguided methods for pursuing stories. He worked his way up the ranks from copy editor to telegraph editor, news editor, night news editor, night managing editor and finally to the managing editor's corner office.

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., Haven first worked as an assistant steamfitter at Nevada Consolidated Copper Co. in Hurley, N.M.

He began his newspaper career in 1930 at the San Diego Sun. He later worked for the San Diego Union-Tribune Publishing Co. before joining The Times.

Haven, who had lived in Pasadena, was widowed twice and was preceded in death by two daughters. He is survived by a daughter, Susan Axarlis of Melbourne, Australia; two stepdaughters, Richards of Nyack, N.Y., and Susan Burd of Jefferson, Md., and 12 grandchildren.

Richards said a memorial service will be planned at a later date.

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