As president of the FCCJ, I am sad to announce the death of Elmer Lower. Elmer Lower spend a part his carrier in Asia. He was well known among FCCJ members. And his son, John Lower, was based in Tokyo twice and member of FCCJ twice. ABC News Cameraman/Producer (1973-1976) and ABC Tokyo Bureau Chief 1999-2001.
ELMER LOWER, EMMY WINNING BROADCASTER AND
PRESIDENT OF ABC NEWS, DIES AT 98
Emmy award winning broadcaster Elmer Wilson Lower, who served as President of ABC News from 1963 to 1974, passed away on July 26, 2011 in Vero Beach, Florida after a brief illness. He had a long and distinguished career over five decades and became an icon of broadcast journalism, having served as a television news executive for 25 years at ABC, NBC and CBS. He was Director of Operations and Special Projects for CBS, Vice President and General Manager of NBC and President of ABC News.
Lower was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1913 and was one of the early members of The Order of the DeMolay (his older brother Louis was its very first member). Before entering television broadcasting in its formative years, Lower devoted 20 years to print journalism, starting as a courthouse reporter in Louisville, Kentucky after graduating from the Journalism School at the University of Missouri in 1933 in the midst of The Great Depression. He felt lucky to get that job at a starting salary of $10 per week, because he always believed that "street reporting" is the basis of a solid career in news, print or broadcasting.
In the mid 1930's, photojournalism created new challenges and opportunities for American journalists, especially with the founding of LIFE magazine by Henry R. Luce. Lower pursued the opportunity and cut his teeth at Acme Newspictures (UPI Photos) and at Associated Press Wirephoto. His early photo-journalism career took him to Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit and New York, where he met his wife to be, Gilberte Stengel, at a New Year's Eve party in Greenwich Village. After the liberation of Paris in World War II, he joined LIFE Magazine, serving first as photo editor and bureau chief in Paris, and then on to Los Angeles and Bangkok, where he directed LIFE's photo coverage of the Korean War. Lower served the United States government twice in the field of information abroad. At the outbreak of World War II, he joined the Office of War Information to coordinate US wartime propaganda and built international radio photo operations from scratch in Cairo, Algiers and Naples. He went on to London, serving both the OWI and the Psychological Warfare Division, to prepare for and provide the world with coverage of the Allied Dday assaults on the beaches of Normandy. During the "cold war" of the early 1950's, he served as head of the information division of the Office of the U.S. High Commission for West Germany, during the closing years of the Allied occupation of Germany.
Entering broadcasting in 1953 at the very beginning of network television news, Lower began to shape what we now take for granted, becoming a broadcast pioneer and legend. His first role, as head of the Washington news bureau for CBS, was housed in the company's then location in "an old, broken-down garage" in Georgetown and had but one reporter...something he would immediately begin to improve on and expand. Moving to New York with CBS, he also assumed responsibility for CBS Sports, where, among other achievements, he led the "marriage of the pigskin and the TV picture tube" with the first, national coverage contract with the NFL. He also became increasingly involved in the coverage of American politics and elections, creating election tabulation and projection systems for all three major networks, an innovation in broadcasting at that time. Until then, the wire services (AP, UP and INS) were the source of national election results. As they were geared to newspapers, their results became too slow for broadcasting which demanded tabulations the minute election polls closed. In 1964 the break-neck competition among the networks and wire services reached its peak. All five competitors--ABC, CBS, NBC, AP and UPI—agreed to call off the competitive madness and form a tabulation pool. Toward that end, Lower was one of the three co-founders of the News Election Services, along with Fred W. Friendly of CBS and William R. McAndrew of NBC.
Throughout his career, Elmer Lower would develop and organize many other innovations for the time, earning him a reputation as an organization builder. He took ABC News from a small, non competitive organization operating on a slim budget in 1963 to a competitive news team in 1974, increasing its budget many times over and tripling its staff. During that time he assembled a world class team of talent including Peter Jennings, Sam Donaldson, Ted Koppel, Howard K. Smith, Edward P. Morgan, Frank Reynolds, John Scali, William Lawrence and Robert Clark.
War, assassinations and domestic violence marked the news beat during Lower's 11 years as president of ABC News. The "bookends" for that period were the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (1963) and the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon (1974). In between were the ten years of an unpopular war in Vietnam, turmoil on college campuses plus the violence and destruction in central cities amid demands for racial equality. On a more positive front, he was a leading advocate for in depth coverage of the developing space program and expanding coverage of international news. His seminal work throughout his many years in television led to a lifetime achievement Emmy award for "personal standards of ethical and professional excellence" and the RTNDA's highest individual honor, the Paul White Award.
After Lower's retirement from ABC in 1978, he launched yet another career in teaching, an endeavor that took him as a professor to a dozen college campuses and a worldwide lecture circuit over the next 20 years, earning the prestigious Broadcast Journalism Educator of the Year Award in 1999 as well as many honorary doctorate degrees. Quite simply, he wanted to give back by sharing his experiences and professional perspectives with a future generation of journalists. During that period of time, he returned to his alma mater to teach seminars in the fall semester as well as serving full time as Dean of the University of Missouri School of Journalism (1982-1983). He also served on the Board of Directors of the Public Broadcasting Service, including its executive and nominating committees.
He is survived by two sons, Louis (Winnetka, IL and Vero Beach, FL) and John (Tourettes sur Loup, France), two grandchildren and five great grandchildren. His wife, the former Gilberte Madeleine Stengel of Nancy, France died in 1981. A second marriage to Margaret Kessler ended in separation.
A memorial service will be planned. Internment services in Kansas City, MO will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
The club has learned that former Associate Member Benjamin Seiver died of cancer in New York in December. Working in Japan as chief investment officer of AIG East Asia Holdings Management Inc., he had been a member only two and a half years when he had to return to the United States at the end of 2008. He was an enthusiastic member, whose connections to the news business included having been Yale roommate of Jim Brooke, a former FCCJ Director who is now the Russia/CIS bureau chief for Voice of America. “Ben loved the Foreign Correspondents Club and Tokyo,” his widow, Martha, said in an email. “It is such a shame cancer came along and forced us to leave Japan.” He also left a daughter, Coco, pictured with him below on their last day in Tokyo.
A memorial service and gathering of friends will be held July 10 from 11 a.m. at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan.
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Club member Juro Wada, who conducted the first heart transplant in Japan in 1968.
According to Kyodo News, Sapporo Medical University professor emeritus Wada died of pneumonia Monday afternoon at his home in Tokyo at the age of 88.
Dr. Wada was an FCCJ member since 1988. And in his later years, he volunteered his services to the Club. He made a lasting impression on people who met him. Former FCCJ President Anthony Rowley
remembers: "I knew Dr. Wada as a charming and friendly person who always seemed to have a smile and a greeting for all he met. If that was also his "bedside manner" it must have gone a long way toward
making his patients feel better. Dr. Wada always spoke with enthusiasm for his work and appeared to be a refreshingly modest man, despite his obviously considerable professional achievements."
He also caused headlines in Japan in 1968, when he implanted the heart of a young drowned college student into an 18-year-old male suffering cardiac valvular disease. Unfortunately the recipient later
died. In the environment of that time, this caused immense controversy, especially regarding the concept of brain death. The following ethical and technical discussions of organ transplants
effectively halted further heart transplants in Japan until the Organ Transplant Law came into force in 1997.
Dr. Wada was born in 1922 in Sapporo. In 1944 he graduated from the School of Medicine at Hokkaido University and served as a professor at the Sapporo Medical University and the Tokyo Women's Medical
University. After retiring, he set up a heart and lung research institute.
He was a popular and valued member of the FCCJ.
First Vice-President of the FCCJ
(Acting President in the absence of President Baumgartner)
Town Hall Meeting
The FCCJ Board of Directors and Improvement Committee invite all members, both Regular and Associate, to attend a Town Hall Meeting on March 3 at 7 p.m.
Presentations on the current status review of the club's operations and the strategic management options being explored will be made.
FCCJ President George Baumgartner
With deep regret I would like to inform FCCJ members that Joe A. Grace, one of the greatest characters in the history of the FCCJ, passed away on January 22, in Vilnius, Lithuania. He was 80.
Joe A. Grace
Longtime Associate Member Joe A. Grace has passed away at his home in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Joe was everyone's friend, a pillar of the old press club in Marunouchi where he also had his travel agency. No one travelled anywhere without consulting with Joe first.
Joe was the Shakespeare of the FCCJ not only in writing many of the humorous scripts for the eclectic performances that once were our signature Anniversary Party entertainment but acting in their hilarious culmination.
He also was a staunch member and supporter of the Tokyo International Players and acted both villain and hero roles in many Japanese films and TV dramas.
Club old-timers remember that Joe brought Bingo to the FCCJ and how the place bulged at the seams when he called the numbers.
His housekeeper said he retired as usual Saturday Night but instead of awakening to his regular vigorous routine "left us peacefully and went to heaven".
He is remembered affectionately by his many friends and members of the Club who are waiting for their numbers to be called.
With deep regret I would like to inform FCCJ members of the demise of long-time FCCJ member John Peter Stern. John passed away on January 3, in Tokyo.
John Peter Stern
John, who was 56, was born in Manhattan and spent his childhood in New Rochelle, NY. During his undergraduate years at Princeton University, John majored in East Asian Studies and presented his thesis "The Japanese Interpretation of the 'Law of Nations' 1854-1874," which became an official university publication. In 1979, John received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from Harvard University and moved to Tokyo to work as an attorney at Nagashima & Ohno. In 1981, John moved back to the U.S. and worked as an attorney at Graham & James in Los Angeles, CA. Back in Japan in 1984, John established the American Electronics Association, a U.S. manufacturing trade association, which was the largest electronics trade association at the time. Between the years 1988 to 1995, John served as AEA's Tokyo-based Vice President for Asian Operations and helped establish AEA's Beijing office in 1986. John received an award in 1992 from Japan's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications for his role in the internationalization of the Japanese information industry. In March 2000, John became vice president for American Express Financial Advisors Japan Inc. and in the same year founded Red Tag Japan, Inc., a Japanese subsidiary of a U.S.-based firm that specialized in buying and selling excess inventory. John's last occupation was as a professor of international law at the Nihon University Law School. In December 2010 two sons came back to visit him during the holidays. John seemed to be suffering from light flu-like symptoms, which became progressively worse. Finally, at the request of his family, John decided to be hospitalized on January 2nd, 2011, and was quickly diagnosed as having a heart condition. He was then transferred to a larger hospital but became unconscious within hours of his admittance. He passed away later that day. An autopsy identified the cause of death as a pulmonary embolism.
John was recently active on the Associate Members Liaison Committee and will be remembered for his effective advocacy of greater rights for associate members.
He is survived by his wife Sakumi and two sons, George and Ken.