Posted: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pete Conrad, long-time sports journalist, dies at 56

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Pete Conrad, long-time sports journalist, dies at 56 photo
“He was an effortless writer,” said Mike O’Connor, a Pulse-Journal consulting editor, of Pete Conrad. “He was never a show-off, never a hot dog. His work was as unassuming as he was.”
Pete Conrad, long-time sports journalist, dies at 56 photo
Pete Conrad, editor of The Oxford Press and longtime Miami University sports reporter, died March 4 at University Hospital in Cincinnati.
Pete Conrad, long-time sports journalist, dies at 56 photo
Pete Conrad was named editor of The Oxford Press in February 2012. Previously, he had covered Miami University and other sporting events for 29 years. He was a graduate of Miami and had lived in and around Oxford for most of his life.
Pete Conrad, long-time sports journalist, dies at 56 photo
After leaving The Pulse Journal for the Hamilton JournalNews, Pete Conrad covered Miami University sports for 29 years.

By Richard Jones

Staff Writer

Pete Conrad will be remembered as a “gentle giant,” a kind, softspoken man and a journalist who always gave everyone a fair shake.

Conrad, editor of The Oxford Press and longtime Miami University sports reporter, died March 4 at University Hospital in Cincinnati.

Born March 22, 1956, in Hamilton, Conrad was a life-long resident of Reily Twp. He graduated from Talawanda High School in 1974 and Miami University in 1978.

Pat Diangelo, founder and publisher of the Mason and West Chester Pulse-Journal, gave Conrad his first job when he graduated from Miami University.

“He was the first sportswriter I hired for the paper,” Diangelo said. “To me, he was like a son, and a big teddy bear who couldn’t hurt a soul.”

“He was a dedicated writer and never did anything that would upset anybody,” he said, “but was not the type of person who would get upset if someone didn’t like what he had put in the paper.”

Diangelo recalled an incident in which a large man came into the newspaper’s to complain about a story Conrad did about Moeller High School athletes praying to statues before a big game.

“They were both really big guys and I thought they would tear the place up,” Diangelo said. “Pete didn’t shrink from him, but stood up and explained how he wrote the story, and when the guy left they were like old friends.”

“He taught me how to have patience because I was always the type to always be jumping here and jumping there,” he said. “Pete taught me how to settle down. He was the type of guy who could smooth you out and relax you.”

Mike O’Connor, a Pulse-Journal consulting editor when Conrad started working there, concurred that he was a peaceful guy in spite of his large presence.

“I can’t say that I ever saw him angry about anything,” O’Connor said. “I don’t think I’d want to see him angry.”

“He was an effortless writer,” O’Connor said. “He was never a show-off, never a hot dog. His work was as unassuming as he was.”

“It just came naturally for Pete to give his all to whatever he did,” said Lois Cockerham of Liberty Twp., who was editor of The Pulse-Journal when Conrad was sports editor.

That character trait carried over to all aspects of his life, Cockerham said, from caring for his mother as she aged, to most recently, doting on his two young daughters, whom he adored.

“If you attended a Butler County Fair in the last few years and encountered this big bear of a guy with a beard proudly pushing two small children in a stroller, that was Pete as a dad,” she said.

After leaving The Pulse Journal for the Hamilton JournalNews, Conrad covered Miami University sports for 29 years.

“Whenever Miami was looking for a new head coach, Pete was the one reporter who would never pressure me about clandestine meetings or inside information,” said Jo Anne Bogard, long-time administrative assistant to the athletic director. “He was always so caring, laid-back and low key and a delight to be around.”

“He was always good about paying attention to the non-revenue sports,” she said. “He always hit the nail on the head, always attentive to the details and a very thorough writer.”

In February 2012, Conrad was named editor of The Oxford Press.

Conrad had been hospitalized since December with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a disorder that causes muscle weakness and other symptoms.

Even though the disorder left him debilitated, long-time friend and former co-worker Becky Chambers said he never lost his resolve.

“He was always an adventurous spirit,” she said. “Although he could not move, he could indicate yes and no, and he was determined to keep going and get well.”

Conrad is survived by two daughters, Jasmin, 5, and Carmella, 4, and David, a young man he considered to be a son.

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