Andy Angelo, the 2010 Robinson Prize winner, died early Tuesday morning, July 3, 2012, after a short respiratory illness. He was 55 and recently retired from the Grand Rapids Press, where he helped the copy desk transition to the online-first MLive Media Group.
After stints at the Associated Press and newspapers in Port Huron, Mich., Cadillac, Mich., and Rockford, Ill., Angelo spent 25 years in Grand Rapids. As news editor, he oversaw the consolidation of three west Michigan newspaper copy desks, a topic he spoke about at the 2010 ACES conference in Phoenix.
“Andy worked with me at the Port Huron Times-Herald when he was just starting his career. He was a smart and dedicated journalist. But what I’ll always remember is how kind he was. Andy never said a bad word about anyone,” said Sue Burzynski Bullard, an associate professor in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a member of the ACES Executive Committee.
“I didn’t think of him as simply a colleague. To me, Andy was a friend. And that was a wonderful thing.”
Angelo grew up in Detroit, where his father was an editor at the Free Press. He graduated from Kalamazoo College.
In many tributes to Angelo on Facebook and at the M-Live article on his death, he is remembered as a mentor, advocate and friend to those he worked with. At the awards banquet two years ago, Angelo’s acceptance of the Robinson Prize included an expression of his optimism for the future of copy editing. He said that optimism was bolstered by the ACES student members from the University of Nebraska with whom he had just shared dinner.
“Andy’s acceptance speech at the conference was inspiring. His excitement about copy editing and the future infectious,” said ACES President Teresa Schmedding. “What struck me the most was how humble he was. He turned the tables on us during his speech by giving accolades to students and copy editors everywhere. He made his big moment a ‘moment’ for all copy editors.”
The Robinson Prize honors substantial contributions to the craft of copy editing and excellence in overall copy editing skills.
Darin Estep, co-nominator of Angelo for the Robinson Prize, said Angelo “was fiercely loyal to his friends and family, and a mentor to a generation of journalists.” His comments and others are in an article on Angelo’s death at MLive.
Angelo balanced long hours at the newspaper with active involvement in his community. He served on the boards for Grand Rapids’ Circle Theatre and the Grandville Avenue Arts and Humanities center. He edited a history of Grand Rapids churches published in 1993 by the Grand Rapids Area Council for the Humanities.
He is survived by his wife, Mary.