Journalist, public relations man always fan of newspapers

| Sunday, June 7, 2009

June 6, 1944, had a special meaning for Charlie Carroll, a cub reporter with the Des Moines Register.

"Dad recalled the excitement in the news room with the bells on the teletype machines ringing, and the editors tearing out copy, as the extra editions were being prepared," said his son, Timothy Carroll, an editor with the Wall Street Journal in New York City.

It was the magnitude of what was taking place that had the attention of everyone in the building, Carroll said.

Charles F. "Charlie" Carroll of Mt. Lebanon, a former public relations specialist with Westinghouse Electric Corp., died on Wednesday, June 3, 2009, in his home. He was 82.

Timothy Carroll said his father was the quintessential newspaper man. "Even when we were on vacation, Dad would pick up the area's newspapers."

Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and raised in Des Moines, Charles Carroll was one of four children in the family of AT&T salesman Francis Carroll and his wife, Florence Schulze Carroll.

After his graduation from Dowling High School in Des Moines in 1945, Mr. Carroll received his degree from Iowa State University, where he was the editor of the school's Daily Iowan.

While living in New York City, Mr. Carroll was employed by the Wall Street Journal, the former New York Herald Tribune and Westinghouse Electric Corp.

It was while working in New York City that Mr. Carroll met Yvonne Burkett, a resident of Colorado, who at the time was employed as a stewardess for United Airlines.

"We met on a blind date early in 1955 and were married that October," said Mrs. Carroll. "We were a good match. Charlie was charming and funny and felt as I did about the importance of a family."

The Carrolls arrived in Pittsburgh in 1961, when Mr. Carroll was transferred to the Westinghouse corporate headquarters, Downtown.

Robert Deasy of Hampton, the former assistant director of corporate public relations for Westinghouse, recalled the common bond among himself, Charlie Carroll and Tom Phares, who at the time was director of corporate communications and manager of its international public relations' 17 offices.

"Bob, Tom and I were all newspaper people," said Deasy. "It gave us a kinship and understanding of what it took to produce good copy.

"We also felt close enough that we could discuss personal problems and also complain about the company," Deasy added.

"And it was rather ironic that Tom and Charlie died about 12 hours of each other this past week."

Upon his retirement from Westinghouse in 1992, Mr. Carroll wrote a periodic column for the Almanac, a weekly that covers the South Hills area, said Deasy.

In addition to his wife, Yvonne and son, Timothy, Mr. Carroll is survived by his children, Charles of St. Paul, Minn.; Paul of Sacramento, Calif.; Timothy of Langhorne, Bucks County; Anne Gamber of Baltimore; Martha Sherman of Seattle; Amy Ranalli of Columbus, Ohio; Kathryn Carroll of East End, and Jennifer Endo of Arlington, Va., and 17 grandchildren.

Mr. Carroll is survived by his sisters, Janet Brennan of Los Angeles and Lois Bek of Des Moines. He was preceded in death by his brother, John Carroll.

Friends and family will be welcomed from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. today at Laughlin Memorial Chapel, 222 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 126 Fort Couch in Bethel Park, where Mr. Carroll served on the church's first parish council.

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