A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

Obituaries – August 2009

By Quill

Compiled by Karen S. Grabowski

Marguerite Peggy Stinnett

The Bay Area lost an ardent watchdog June 2, 2009. Marguerite “Peggy” Stinnett passed away at her Oakland home. She was 87.

Stinnett was a staunch SPJ supporter and active local chapter member who worked as a newspaper reporter and columnist for decades in Oakland.

According to Stinnett’s daughter, Colleen Badagliacco, Stinnett grew up surrounded by politics and politicians, which influenced her journalistic endeavors and how she covered California politics.

“I think (her early life) gave her a lot of perspective and insight beyond what a typical reporter would have,” Badagliacco said. “She totally understood how politics worked.”

Stinnett started her journalism career at the San Jose Mercury News in 1942. She also worked at the Oakland Post-Enquirer, The (Oakland) Montclarion, the Oakland Tribune, KQED and KTVU, and she taught journalism at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. In 2006, Stinnett retired from the Oakland Tribune but continued to write as a weekly guest columnist at The Oakland Post starting in 2007.

To commemorate Stinnett, her family asked that donations be made to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, saying that they “felt it should be for journalists, because that was her love.”

Donations may be sent to: Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, 3909 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208.

Donald Johnson

Donald Cargill Johnson, a 55-year SPJ member, passed away May 23, 2009. He was 83.

In 1944, Johnson served at Fort Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado until the end of World War II. After the war, he returned to Illinois and attended Northwestern University, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

In 27 years in the newspaper business, Johnson worked predominately with Gannett. Positions included being a reporter and state editor at the Kankakee (Ill.) Daily Journal, reporter through assistant to the managing editor of the Binghamton (N.Y.) Press, city editor and assistant managing editor of the Elmira (N.Y.) Gazette, managing editor of the Niagara Falls Gazette, editor of the Bridgewater (N.J.) Courier News, and on special assignment to the editorial board at the Camden Courier-Post.

In 1977, he became the director of student publications and assistant professor at Texas A&M University. While at the university, Johnson made the Battalion the first student newspaper in Texas to switch to a computer-based operation.

Robert Wegener, A&M general manager of student media, remembered Johnson as dedicated to journalism. Wegener said that an award named in Johnson’s honor recognizes a journalism student who best exemplifies Johnson’s “dedication to journalism as a career and significant service to Texas A&M.” Students and colleagues fondly nicknamed him “DJ,” and he made a home in Bryan, Texas, where community members still remember him as a great leader, teacher, inspiration and friend.