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Slain newspaper clerks noted for talent, warmth, and wit



Family and colleagues remember the five people who were shot dead in a Maryland newspaper as dedicated members of the community. The employees killed at Annapolis on Thursday were Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters. Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, was indicted for murder in five cases for one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in US history.

GERALD FISCHMAN

Former employees of Gerald Fischman, chief editor of the Capital Gazette, journalists described the veteran as restrained, precise and exceptionally talented.

"Gerald was the most brilliant editor I know," said Dan Casey, a former newspaper reporter who is now a columnist for The Roanoke Times

Fischman, who was awarded every year for his editorial work like clockwork , was socially embarrassing, but in a "lovable" way, Casey said.

Steve Gunn, a former newspaper editor, said Fischman was "the master of the AP style" who "made sure everything was just right."

"He was famous for working long days and days Being very precise in his language and always making sure that the editorial page reflected the heart of the newspaper, "said Gunn.

Fischman had been at the club since 1965.

Politicians who met Fischman told the Baltimore Sun he was impressive and able to oversee them.

"When I sat in 2010 for my endorsement interviews, he made it clear to me that it should be earned and was by no means guaranteed," said former two-year Anne Arundel County Councilman Jamie Benoit. "He asked tough questions and revealed any weakness in my legislative files, treating street races like presidential races."

ROB HIAASEN

The family of Deputy Chief Editor Rob Hiaasen is "devastated" by his death, said his brother, author Carl Hiaasen

In a brief phone call with The Associated Press said the prolific novelist and longtime columnist of the Miami Herald, Carl Hiaasen, that his family was "devastated by the senseless killing of his brother, who was 59 years old." 19659014] "He was the most remarkable man, so talented and talented and dedicated to journalism," he said in a strangled voice.

Hiaasen said he was too gripped by grief to continue talking and pointed an AP reporter to something he had just posted on his Facebook page, describing Rob as one of the "most meek and funny people I ever knew ".

Gunn, the former editor of Capital Gazette, said Rob Hiaasen was a "gifted editor who created an artist's aura about the one who got people to make journalism a beautiful craft."

A another journalist, Jan Winburn, who had been working with Hiaasen for a decade, said he has a true passion for the craft industry. "His heart was always in it – every story, every line and every word," she wrote on his Facebook page.

Because of his size and spirit, he was called "Big Rob" and was known for his generosity and mentoring relationship with younger reporters.

Hiaasen had just celebrated his 33rd wedding anniversary with his wife Maria, whose birthday was Thursday, the day of the deadly attack.

JOHN McNAMARA

John McNamara was a longtime employee of the newspaper who worked as a sports journalist and editor, and recently switched to a weekly publication, which Bowie Blade News, colleague David Broughton said.

Broughton, the newspaper's sports editor, said he had worked with McNamara since 1994 and sat in a neighboring cabin

"I could hear his talks (in the paper)," Broughton said. "He was just a really thoughtful guy and a very intellectual guy, he could have an intelligent conversation about anything, be it politics or travel or English literature."

The newspaper's newsroom was full of "outsiders in one way or another," but McNamara did not fall into that category, Casey said. Instead, he was a sympathetic, approachable nice guy with an "encyclopedic knowledge" about sports and music.

McNamara was an avid basketball player with a self-deprecating sense of humor and roaring laughter who had married his college girlfriend Broughton

"He often said that his greatest achievement was to marry her," Broughton said.

REBECCA SMITH

Rebecca Smith, a recently hired saleswoman in the Capital Gazette, was a caring, optimistic person who she loved loved her fiancé and his young daughter, girlfriend Carolyn Dedmon.

Smith's fiance recently joined a softball team. Dedmon's husband is training and she quickly became part of the softball family, Dedmon said.

Smith called herself a "bonus mom" to her fiancée's daughter and loved bringing her to softball games and having nights at home, Dedmon said.

"It was always about Rileigh and making her happy and spending as much time as possible with her," she said.

Smith's boss, Marty Padden, the Capital Gazette copywriting director, described her as a thoughtful person who made sure the sales office worked smoothly.

"She was friendly and considerate and ready to help when needed, and she really seemed to enjoy working in the media industry," Padden told The Sun.

Dedmon said Smith had had severe endometriosis, but never let her down.

"She always went to work, did what she had to do, she was never sad," said Dedmon.

WENDI WINTERS

The publisher of special publications, Wendi Winters, was "the heart of the newspaper," Gunn said.

Winters was passionate about serving the community and a role model for younger journalists, he recalled.

"She was in many ways the best part of the newspaper because she was so concerned about the city," he said.

The 65 – year – old moved to Maryland for about 20 years. Www.mjfriendship.de/de/index.php?op…20&Itemid=32 She had a penchant for writing features and had her "quirky and funny "Personality shine through in her work," said Susan O'Brien, spokeswoman for the City of New York Annapolis

"She always seemed to smile, she was just a very pleasant person, it's just unbelievable to think that she no longer here is, "said O'Brien.

Winters was the beloved mother of four children, all young adults The eldest, 29-year-old Winters Geimer, said her mother's personality matched her red hair and 6-foot frame.

"It was larger than life," Geimer said Friday after a vigil in her mother's Annapolis church. "She was a tough person she missed."

Geimer said her mother works as a publicist in New York City before she began working as a freelancer for the Annapolis newspaper nearly 20 years ago and was a housewife who liked to make homemade clothing and Halloween costumes for her children.

"My mother loved writing and creating," she said. "She was a multi-talented artist."

Winters was a member of the assembly in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, where dozens of mourners arrived on Friday gathered to mourn and honor her and her murdered colleagues.

Some church members laughed in tears as t Hey told stories about them. Dr. L. E. Gomez said that Winters was a New Yorker native like him and had a sarcastic, stubborn, irreverent manner. He loved their frequent discussions about local politics, although they often disagreed.

"Wendi made me feel at home," he said. "It did not matter what we talked about, it was the way she communicated with people."

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New York AP News Research Center and AP authors Sarah Rankin and Denise Lavoie of Richmond, Virginia, and Michael Kunzelman of Annapolis contributed to the report.


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