Kevin Crosbie (1960-2012)

Kevin Crosbie

From The Chronicle, Willimantic, Connecticut, April 18, 2012:

WILLIMANTIC-Chronicle Publisher Kevin Crosbie suffered a heart attack and died in his home Tuesdoy. He was 52.

tn the aftermath of h1s untimely death, friends and colleagues remembered him for the. person he was behind the title—a famity man, a constant in the community, an ally, an athlete and a very good fnend.

News of Crosb1e’s passing moved quickly through the community. Windham town offices Tuesday honored Crosbie with a moment of silence before the town council meeting, expressing shock and disbelief that such a prominent member of the community was gone.

Crosbie was remembered 1n many ways, not the least of wh1ch was for h1s forthrightness and honesty. “If he liked something, he’d tell you. If he didn’t like something, he’d tell you that too,”said Windham Mayor Ernest Eldridge. “Kevin and l didn’t travel on the same orbit but l considered hom my good friend.”

Condolences poured into the Chronicle Tuesday from newspaper heads around the state who knew Crosb1e professionally and personally “Kevin was a dedicated journalist and worked diligently to preserve community newspaperingin central Connecticut. He was committed to do1ng what was right in every situation and I took away new ideas from each conversation I had with him. The news media will be much weaker in this state with the loss of Kevin,” said Michael Schroeder, pres1dent of the Bristol Press.

Crosbie was a hands·on publisher and ever present in the newsroom, operating at times out of nothing more grandiosethan a cubicle in the corner. He was the go-to person for just about everything and would just as soon climb a ladder to change a light bulb as put on a jacket and sit down with the governor-as he d1d recently when Gov. Dannel P. Malloy paid a visit to the Chronicle.

“Kevin was a soup to nuts guy,” said former Chronicle features editor Terese Karmel. “At m1dnight he’d be at the paper, in jeans and a sweatshirt, ironing out some printing problems with the Daily Campus production editors and then that night, he’d be in a gray suitand be hosting a Chamber of Commerce dinner.”

Chronicle photographer AI Molpa said Crosbie treated everyone -no matter his or her lot -the same “There was no hierarchy with him,” said Malpa, who described Crosb1e as a forward thinker, always drumming up innovative ways to make the paper better. His business savvy ways and his nose for news combined to make him one of a kind.

“Kevin was a smart businessman with the soul of a journalist,” said Gary Farrugia, publisher of The Day. “He was a fine human being.”

Outside of the newsroom, Crosbie held several roles in the greater newspaper community, serv1ng as past president for the Connecticut Daily Newspaper Assoc1ation and chairman of the Connecticut Daily Newspaper Association’s legislative committee. “As president of the association, he was a committed leader. He was a fierce advocate for our industry who successfully fought legislation that stood to negatively affect our business in a significant way,” said Richard Graziano, publisher of the Hartford Courant.

Mike Killian Sr., vice president for the Record-Journal in Menden, descnbed Crosbie as a “fellow who loved the industry. He had a passionate commitment to journalism, as did Lucy, his mother.”

A graduate of Windham High School, Crosbie went on to earn a bachelor’s degree on English from Skidmore College in Saratoga, N.Y. He joined the Chronicle on 1984 and became publisher on 1992, making him the fifth generation of his family to act as publisher.

“Kevin was a class act. The closest I’ve come to George Bailey of  ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ said George Geers, who was the Chronide editor when Crosb1e made the transition to publisher.

Despite trying economic times that continue to take a toll on newspapers around the country, the Crosbies have fought to keep the Chronicle 1n the fam1ly and have done so despite great odds. ‘The fact that he was the fifth generation of a family that has lead a local media organization stnce 1877 speaks volumes,” said Graziano.

Despite the Chronicle‘s status as a smaller daily, Crosbie as its publisher was well respected as an Industry leader amongst his peers. “He was passionate about, and dedicated to, preserving the independence of the Chronicle,” said Shawn Palmer, publisher of the News T1mes 1n Danbury.

Outside of the news bus1ness, Crosbie nurtured his longtime friendships and enjoyed some 30 years of ice hockey with old high school buddies. The group began getting together to play pond hockey in the woods of Windham and whole they all loved the game, their greatest fondness was for one other.

“They were terrific hockey players, but they were better friends,” said M1ke Sypher, Chronicle sports editor, who went to high school with Crosbie and has worked at the Chronicle for 25 years.

Norm Miller, a longtime friend and fellow hockey player, said there were countless good times to be remembered w1th Crosbie but what stuck out most 1n his mind was the kind of friend he was . ” He always seemed to be there when I needed a friend. When I came home from Iraq, he was the guy who p1cked me up. When I was down, he was there,” said Miller.

And for all that he was hands-on, Crosbie was hands-off where 1t mattered most. ‘”‘He let us do our jobs and he trusted our abilities. He was the best boss t ever had and ever will have, “said Sypher.

Michael Lemanski, Chronicle city editor, has known Crosbie since 1997. As a sports enthusiast, Lemanski said he admired Crosbie for his interests both 1ns1de and beyond the newsroom -and especially his membership on the Soubere and Buzzard hockey teams.

“Kevin was the only publisher I”ve ever worked for who played ice hockey,” said Lemanski. “He cared about his staff, family and community and he represented what newspapers should be.”

Lemanski’s sentiment was shared by others who knew Crosbie. “He was a man that you could trust,” said Eldridge. “There are not many newspaper people you can say that about, but Kevin was one of them.”

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From the Hartford Courant, April 17, 2012:

WILLIMANTIC — Kevin Crosbie, the publisher of The Chronicle newspaper of Willimantic has died at the age of 52.

Vincent Crosbie said Tuesday that his brother died unexpectedly overnight and that the cause was determined to be a heart attack.

The Crosbie family started The Chronicle in 1877, and Kevin Crosbie succeeded his mother, Lucy Crosbie, as publisher in 1992. He represented the fifth generation of the family to lead the daily newspaper. Lucy Crosbie died on Jan. 1.

Rich Graziano, publisher, president and CEO of the Courant and vice president and general manager of Fox CT, said he got to know Crosbie through their mutual involvement with the Connecticut Daily Newspaper Association.

“As president of the association, he was a committed leader. He was a fierce advocate for our industry who successfully fought legislation that stood to negatively affect our business in a significant way,” Graziano said. “Kevin was a very special type of business leader. The fact that he was the fifth generation of a family that has led a local media organization since 1877 speaks volumes. But even more impressive than any of his accomplishments in business or at the CDNA is the type of person Kevin was.

“He was always passionate, prepared, warm … a class act. He was an ideal ambassador for our industry. I will miss Kevin. The industry will miss Kevin.”

Crosbie began working for the Chronicle within a few years of graduating from Skidmore College.

In addition to serving as president of the CDNA, he was a member of the board of the New England Newspaper Association.

From The Daily Campus, University of Connecticut, April 17, 2012:

Kevin Crosbie, the longtime publisher of The Chronicle newspaper in Willimantic, has died at age 52.

Kevin’s brother, Vincent, has told various news sources that Kevin died overnight Monday and that the cause was believed to be a heart attack. Kevin has been the publisher of The Chronicle since 1992.

This is not merely a loss of a well-respected local. For many years, The Chronicle has printed the copies of The Daily Campus that are delivered around UConn every weekday, and for as many years Kevin has served as the primary point of contact for the executive staff at The DC. For those of at The Daily Campus who had the pleasure of working with Kevin, he served as a mentor and a valuable resource.

“Kevin was a great mentor and friend to The Daily Campus and was always willing to help,” said Russell Blair, the Managing Editor of The Daily Campus for the 2010 to 2011 Production year.

“I remember calling him on a few occasions well past midnight, and even though I had woken him, he didn’t hesitate to help me with a technical problem,” Blair said. “I am confident that I am just one of the many journalists who Kevin mentored throughout his time at The Chronicle.”

But Kevin went beyond answering phone calls. He opened his pressroom to give personalized tours to DC staffers, and offered the use of his newsroom when power outages threatened to halt production. He worked with his staff to set up free training sessions and workshops for Daily Campus advertising representatives and photographers.

There is no other way to put it: Kevin loved The Daily Campus. He was equally as likely to brag about the achievements of The DC as its own staff, and he took great pride in being associated with a nationally ranked student newspaper.

But Kevin’s passion for UConn student journalism extended beyond The Daily Campus.

“For as long as most people can remember, the Crosbie family and Kevin in particular have been friends of UConn, especially the Journalism Department and its students,” said Marcel Dufresne, associate professor of journalism. “Kevin’s influence and support were felt in so many ways, whether it was working with students at The Daily Campus to get the paper published regularly and on time, or giving student interns a chance to gain experience and see their first byline in print.”

Dufrense also spoke of Crosbie’s selfless help with his Publication Practice class’ special project this past spring.

“I asked him for a price quote to print a special edition of a student reporting project about services for adults with autism,” Dufresne said. ”Once he heard what the topic was, Kevin immediately offered to print it for free, even using high-quality paper to give the publication a polished, professional look. To increase the exposure, Kevin had the newspaper inserted into a weekday edition of The Chronicle and delivered it to each of his subscribers.”

“When I first met Kevin, all he wanted to do was talk about how great he thought The Daily Campus was and how happy he was to get to work with us,” said Mac Cerullo, the current Managing Editor of The Daily Campus. “Every time I called him this past year to ask a question or work out a production issue, he always complimented us on our work.”

“No one was more supportive of us than him,” Cerullo said, “We’re all going to really miss him.”

Kevin’s experience, dedication and endless patience will be missed by The Daily Campus, and the newspaper staff wishes to extend condolences to Kevin’s family, friends and coworkers, who are undoubtedly mourning the sudden loss of this incredible man right along with us.

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