Former Daily Pilot publisher Bob Weed dies

COSTA MESA — Bob Weed, who served as Daily Pilot publisher during a 20-year span that resulted in several newspaper awards, has died.

Weed died Saturday of natural causes in San Luis Obispo County, family members said. He was 92.

A newspaperman from the beginning, Weed had a long career in journalism that ended with a two-decade stretch at the helm of the Daily Pilot.

"He always had the ink in his blood," said his wife, Marjorie Weed, 91, in a phone interview.

Weed worked at the Pilot from 1964 to 1984, when it was an afternoon daily with more than half a dozen editions ranging from San Clemente and Irvine to Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley.

During Weed's time, the paper covered the founding of UC Irvine, a controversial California Department of Transportation proposal to build a freeway on Coast Highway, and the battle to unify the local school districts, said former Managing Editor Chuck Loos.

Weed made sure stories were covered from all angles, fairly and objectively, said Loos, who worked at the Pilot for 20 years.

"He was probably one of the best bosses they've ever had — if not the best," he said.

Weed was born in Minnesota on March 10, 1919.

He got into journalism in high school, where he was editor of his school paper while helping out at the local weekly in Alexandria, Minn., his hometown. At the University of Minnesota, he graduated from its journalism program and served on the campus paper.

Weed started out as a reporter at the Minnesota Star-Tribune in 1940, but left to serve inWorld War II.

Weed returned to the Star-Tribune when his military service ended, first as a reporter and then in sales and promotions.

He worked there for 20 years until he was sent to the San Fernando Valley as the publisher of the Valley Times Today newspaper. The family moved again to Newport Beach when Weed took the top job at the Pilot.

"All Bob could ever say was how proud he was of his staff at the Daily Pilot," Marjorie Weed said. "It was his joy to work in that community."

While serving as publisher, Weed was tough but personable — a great guy and boss, Loos said.

He also encouraged editorial independence.

"He supported the editorial side and encouraged us to excel and be aggressive in our reporting," he said. "And we did that. We were winning a lot of awards in that day."

Weed never dropped his habit of reading several newspapers, newsletters and news magazines, said his daughter, Margo Weed Smith.

Her father also never stopped writing — using his typewriter and two fingers to "hunt and peck" the keys, Smith said.

"It got difficult to find typewriter ribbon," she said.

Weed wrote biographies for his church's newsletters after he retired and moved to Avila Beach, a small town south of San Luis Obispo.

He was actively involved in his church, the homeowners association and golfing with his wife — even making two holes-in-one over the course of his life — Marjorie Weed said.

He went to grade school with Marjorie, and the two started going "steady" in high school. They attended college together and secretly married in 1942 on a weekend stopover while Weed was in the Army.

Marjorie was a physical education teacher and wasn't allowed to marry under her contract.

The two would have been married 69 years in September.

"Our whole life has been together," she said. "It's really weird to think he's gone now."

In addition to his wife, Weed is survived by daughters Margo Weed Smith, Robin Weed-Brown and Kathryn DesRosier; son-in-laws Timothy Smith and Leo DesRosier; grandchildren Kathryn Devlin, Nathan Smith, Laura Smith, Amy Lepper and John Brown; and four great-grandchildren.

A service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sept. 4 at the First Presbyterian Church, 981 Marsh St., San Luis Obispo. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to First Presbyterian Church/Front Porch Ministry, P.O. Box 591, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406.

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