Martin Hollander, a former Newsday editor whose flair for language and eye for detail enabled him to shape news events into poignant opinion pieces, has died.
Hollander died of cancer on Thursday, his family said. He was 78.
The Port Washington resident worked as an editor at the Philadelphia Bulletin, The Wall Street Journal and UPI before spending 25 years at Newsday, where he became an op-ed editor in Viewpoints.
Hollander was graceful and at ease under pressure, former colleagues said.
“You could count on him to hunker down and get the job done and get clean copy to the paper without losing his cool,” said Spencer Rumsey, a former Newsday op-ed editor.
Jim Lynn, a former deputy editor of the editorial pages said: “He wrote well himself, and he knew how to make other people’s writing better.”
Hollander grew up in Queens and graduated from Stuyvesant High School and Queens College. He took a job with the Philadelphia Bulletin, which is no longer in publication.
He joined Newsday around 1979. Hollander’s job was to come up with the concepts and idea of op-eds and find writers for those pieces for the Viewpoints section, said James Klurfeld, former editor of the editorial pages.
“He did his job, he did it well and that’s what you wanted from somebody,” said Klurfeld, a visiting professor at Stony Brook University School of Journalism.
He also enjoyed editing Murray Kempton, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for Newsday, Rumsey said.
Hollander, with silver hair and a mustache, was nicknamed by an editor as “the silver fox, because he was wily,” Rumsey said. He wore wire-rimmed glasses and “sometimes would break into a really funny grimace,” Rumsey said.
He edited opinion pieces at Newsday and was an avid traveler, writing about his own trips around the world for Newsday. Hollander liked also making discoveries in less traveled parts of Brooklyn and Queens, Lynn said.
“He was a person who was curious about the world he lived in and was always looking for opportunities to satisfy that curiosity.”
Francine Brown, his longtime companion until his death, said during his travels he would veer from the guidebook. He was “always up to discovering the new city. It was not only seeing the cultural sites, but seeking out other places that were not quite known,” she said.
When his younger daughter, Jessica, was 11, he took her on a trip to Italy and would later pick her up each week to go see an independent film at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington. Danielle, his older daughter, remembered he was great at fixing things and “taught his daughters how to fix their own cars. He’d bring us out to the garage and say, ‘We’re changing brake pads today.’ ”
In his spare time, he attended World War II history events and was active in the Society of the Silurians, an organization for veteran New York journalists. He also served on the East Meadow school board in the 1980s.
At Newsday, he was an active union member and conscious of workers’ rights, friends said.
He left Newsday in 2004.
In retirement, he volunteered at the American Museum of Natural History, where he helped tourists and visitors. He met Rumsey for a cheap $1.09 breakfast at the IKEA store in Hicksville. The pair went to Mets games with Lynn.
“There will never come a guy like him who knew so much about so many things and was such a great American,” Rumsey said.
In addition to his two daughters, Jessica, of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and Danielle, of Huntington, he is survived by his granddaughter, Elizabeth. He remained close to his ex-wife, Nita Hollander of Huntington Station.
A semiprivate memorial service for close friends and colleagues will be held Monday at noon at Pinelawn Memorial Park in Farmingdale.