Former Dayton Daily News reporter dies

Bob Batz, a former Dayton Daily News reporter, died Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. In this file photo, Batz undertook the project of refurbishing the century old former smokehouse instead of buy a new Home Depot variety. FILE
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Bob Batz, a former Dayton Daily News reporter, died Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. In this file photo, Batz undertook the project of refurbishing the century old former smokehouse instead of buy a new Home Depot variety. FILE

Bob Batz, a ‘newspaperman’s newspaperman,’ leaves legacy.

Bob Batz, a retired Dayton Daily News reporter, longtime journalism educator and dedicated volunteer firefighter, died Friday. He was 77.

Batz met his future wife Sally Smalley in Flint, Mich., his boyhood home. They had four children and settled during the mid-1970s into a 150-year-old home in Brookville. It was there Batz spent his final days.

Sally, who also worked with her husband at the Brookville Fire Department, died in 2009.

Batz’ first job in print was copy boy at The Flint Journal. He worked at newspapers in Rochester, N.Y., and Akron before retiring from the Dayton Daily News in 2007. He continued to write a column for the Brookville Star until his death.

Batz’ son, Bob Batz Jr., said his dad’s stories connected with readers.

“He wrote about stuff that touched people. He was able to make people laugh a lot and make people cry sometimes,” Batz Jr. said. “There was something about his writing that did that.”

The stories Batz pursued allowed him to experience the lofty and low – from piloting a Goodyear blimp, or spending a night in jail. After the death of his mother, Batz wrote a series of on Alzheimer’s disease that was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Based on the work he wrote “Long Goodbyes,” a play twice performed by the Brookville Community Theatre.

Batz also passed the craft forward, teaching journalism for more than 24 years as an adjunct professor at the University of Dayton.

“He really was a newspaperman’s newspaperman,” said Batz Jr., who followed his father’s footsteps and is now an editor and writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“When I was a kid, I saw how much fun he was having and how good he was at it,” said Batz Jr.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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