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‘An old school newsman’: Longtime journalist, KGMB 9 anchor Bob Jones dies at age 85

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 3:10 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 24, 2021 at 4:33 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A beloved Hawaii journalist who dedicated years to print and broadcast news has died.

Loved ones of Bob Jones say he died peacefully on Nov. 22 at his Diamond Head Home as a result of heart failure.

Jones — born in Cleveland, Ohio — dedicated his life to news and information. He began as a police reporter for the St. Petersburg Times in Florida prior to taking his career international.

“He was an old school newsman. He pounded out his stories, he tried to pound on people sometimes, orally, verbally for the truth, and at the same time he knew when to take it easy and relax,” former reporter and anchor Leslie Wilcox said.

For years, Bob Jones was the face of KGMB 9 News in Honolulu, Hawaii.
For years, Bob Jones was the face of KGMB 9 News in Honolulu, Hawaii.(Denby Fawcett / Wife)

After a three-year tour with the Air Force, Jones worked at several publications, including The Overseas Weekly, based out of Frankfurt and Paris. Shortly after, he moved back to the United States landing a job as a general assignment print reporter with the Louisville Courier-Journal.

It wasn’t until Jan. 1963 when he traveled across the Pacific to Honolulu for a job at the Honolulu Advertiser.

There, Jones went from general reporter to military editor. He would eventually go on to cover wars, accompanying the Kaneohe 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines in Vietnam. After that, he was permanently embedded with the 25th Infantry Division.

Jones had often said he was a “hard-core print guy,” but when KGMB-TV’s owner Cec Heftel gave him a call to switch to television news, Jones jumped at the chance.

That began the long career of reporting and anchoring the KGMB 9 News alongside other Hawaii journalism icons, including Bob Sevey, Tim Tindall, Jim Leahy and more.

“Every time I dealt with Bob, he always asked the hard questions. He never pulled his punches just because we knew each other and had worked together. So he was a newsman through and through, always,” former colleague Elisa Yadao said.

He also served as an NBC News foreign correspondent in Vietnam and Laos, and later married journalist Denby Fawcett.

When he left KGMB in 1994, he remained active in contributing to local print. In his later years, he wrote an opinion column for the MidWeek, and ran a blog, The Bob Jones Report.

“Bob was one of the best TV news writers in the business. His copy was tight and descriptive and it flowed with great speed from his keyboard. He was generous in sharing his writing skills with those of us who were still honing our craft. He was the greatest influence on my hard news deadline writing, hands-down,” former Hawaii journalist Tina Shelton said.

Loved ones of Jones said the final piece he wrote was on the crisis at the Mexico border, which published on his website the day he passed.

He is remembered for many things, including his dedication to news over the many years, his love for traveling, and passion for cooking. Jones was 85 years old.

This story will be updated with reaction from former colleagues.

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