Frank Robert Kane
Frank Robert Kane
  • April 24, 1925 - January 5, 2018
  • Alexandria, Virginia

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Frank R. Kane, a Blade reporter and editor who brought readers behind the scenes as he covered city hall, the Statehouse and the Capitol, political conventions and union halls, died Jan. 5 at the Midlothian, Va., retirement community where he lived the past four years. He was 92.

He died in his sleep and the cause was not known, daughter Sheila Fraser said. He had some respiratory problems, but otherwise was in good health. His wife, Mary Ellen, died on July 17, 2017.

"He tried to keep going, and he did keep going, but he missed her a lot," their daughter said.

Mr. Kane closed his Blade career in 1984. He had returned to Toledo in 1980 after more than 11 years in the Washington bureau to become national news editor of The Blade.

In 1982, he was named assistant managing editor in charge of features.

"He was a very solid reporter and a very solid newspaperman," said Joe O'Conor, a retired Blade managing editor. Recalling Mr. Kane's stint as city editor, preceding his Washington assignment, Mr. O'Conor said: "He was a guy who did his job and got along with people."

Mr. Kane was born April 24, 1925, in Chicago to Mabel and Frank G. Kane. He was a 1943 graduate of Baldwin High School in Birmingham, Mich. In the Navy during World War II, he was an engineering officer on a minesweeper.

He received a bachelor's degree in 1948 from the University of Michigan. While an Ann Arbor News reporter, he became interested in covering organized labor and, with his remaining GI Bill education benefits, received a degree in industrial and labor relations in 1952 from Cornell University. The Blade hired him that summer.

As The Blade's labor writer, he covered such notables as Richard Gosser, president of United Auto Workers Local 12, and Lawrence Steinberg, president of Teamsters Local 20. He covered the successful campaign by Walter Reuther of the UAW to became president of the CIO and the merger later of the AFL and CIO.

Years gone from the beat and back in Toledo, Mr. Kane in 1981 helped a Blade reporter newly assigned to cover labor by arranging for an interview with then-UAW President Douglas Fraser. The pair traveled to Solidarity House in Detroit for the meeting and shared a byline on a Sunday story.

"He was well-respected. He helped me out and gave me instant credibility," said Jon Chavez, a Blade business writer. "He came in and taught me the ropes and taught me all about organized labor."

Mr. Kane covered city hall during a shakeup in city managers and Columbus during the tenure of Michael V. DiSalle, the Toledo mayor elected governor of Ohio.

In the Washington bureau, he covered the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations and accompanied the presidents to international summits and state visits. He covered presidential nominating conventions and elections from 1960 to 1980, even when city editor.

He and his wife returned to Alexandria, Va., after he left The Blade. He worked for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; the House Budget Committee, by appointment of U.S. Rep. Delbert Latta (R., Bowling Green), and the U.S. Labor Department.

He was a former governor and treasurer of the National Press Club.

Mr. Kane and the former Mary Ellen Turnbull married on Sept. 2, 1950.

Surviving are his daughters, Sheila Fraser, Julie Bigler, Nancy Sebastian, and Anne Haring; eight grandchildren, and a great-grandson.

Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. Feb. 10 at Woody Funeral Home Huguenot Chapel, Midlothian, Va.