Past OPC President Marshall Loeb, who helmed the club from 2006 to 2008, died at age 88 on Dec. 9 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Loeb was a business journalist credited for bolstering the success of Money and Fortune magazines. After a year as a city reporter for The St. Louis Globe-Democrat, he joined TIME magazine in 1956 as a writer, rising over the years to business editor and nation editor. He retired from Time Inc. at 65, and edited The Columbia Journalism Review, regularly aired financial advice on CBS Radio and served a short stint as host of the PBS television program “Wall Street Week.”
Loeb joined the OPC in August 1988 and had been a member for almost 30 years. After graduating from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, he served as a correspondent for United Press in Frankfurt, Germany. An article marking his retirement from Fortune called him “one of the most visible and influential editors in the magazine industry.”
In 2009, he wrote a post for his 80th birthday with a look back at six decades of news coverage.
Past OPC President Michael Serrill, who served from 2012 to 2014, said Loeb was a legend who “helped to invent modern business journalism, considered a journalistic backwater until the 1980s. He also, in the course of reviving Fortune, helped to make business coverage global, offering reports and profiles from moguls around the world.”
Past OPC President Allan Dodds Frank, who served from 2008 to 2010, called Loeb a “pillar of the Overseas Press Club of America and the much larger world of financial journalism.”
“He was a charming true gentleman with a sly sense of humor that illuminated his prodigious gifts as a storyteller. He also had the great skill set that makes a superb editor,” he said. “Marshall was a wonderful listener, terrific incubator of ideas and an even better counselor about how one should proceed. At both Money and Fortune, he nurtured dozens of reporters and editors while invigorating the spirit, content and profits of those publications. He was a great mentor, leader, confidante and friend. We will miss him and never forget him.”
Past OPC President Richard Stolley, who served from 2004 to 2006, remembers his friendship with Loeb when the two worked at Time Inc., where Stolley served as editor of the Life and was founding editor of People.
“The managing editors (the term for top editor) at Time Inc. had a weekly lunch, and I often sat next to Marshall because he was good company,” Stolley said. “When I came back from three years as the weekly Life senior editor in Europe, Marshall encouraged me to join the OPC, for which I am eternally grateful.” Stolley said his own years as OPC president were “made possible for me because of Marshall and his urging me to look into the OPC.”
Past OPC President Larry Martz, who served from 2000 to 2002, called Loeb “a tough competitor.”
“I remember many years ago, when I was business editor at Newsweek and he had the same job at TIME, when I was going through the morning papers I’d see a big story and wonder, ‘How is Marshall Loeb reacting to this one?’ And I’d try to order up reporting on some angle he might overlook. It didn’t often work out. Marshall was thorough, and a good editor.”
Past OPC President Bill Holstein, who served from 1994 to 1996, remembered asking Loeb to run in the club’s election. “A number of us former and future presidents persuaded Marshall to run for president in 2006, which he did,” Holstein said.
“Soon after, he and I had lunch and he disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Within a few months, the disease began to manifest itself. Then Executive Director Sonya Fry and I, and others, stepped in to stabilize the club’s management. But more importantly, even suffering a serious illness, Marshall hung in there and fought for the causes he believed in, such as press freedom around the world. His name alone gave us big credibility in the profession because he had been so successful at Fortune and was so universally admired. He was still working for MarketWatch when the disease took hold and he kept that going as well. He was remarkably courageous in the face of what promised to be a long illness. And he was a gentleman throughout, a rarity in today’s media landscape.”
Former OPC Executive Director Sonya Fry called Loeb “a true gentlemen.”
“Marshall was always gracious even though its was obvious that the Parkinson’s was taking over his body. At some point near the end of his Presidency, when walking was very compromised, he still took all his duties seriously, like coming to the OPC office with a Russian health aide to sign checks, certificates and make sure that the programs and awards dinner were progressing. Marshall was a lovely, caring man with a will to succeed and conquer no matter the odds.”
OPC member Tim Ferguson also lauded Loeb’s contribution to the industry. “For business journalists of a certain age, the Loeb era at Fortune, coinciding with those of Jim Michaels at Forbes and Steve Shepard at Business Week, was a golden one.”
Bill Rukeyser, OPC Foundation board member, remembered Loeb for his friendship and professionalism.
“Marshall Loeb was a good man – unfailingly courteous, considerate and loyal to friends, colleagues and especially his beloved family. He succeeded me at both Money and Fortune as managing editor, the title Henry Luce had awarded to each top editor of a Time Inc. magazine to denote that all of them were No. 2 to the editor-in-chief: him. Though neither magazine was in dire circumstances, Marshall’s intelligence, brilliant editorial radar and legendary energy (“All anybody wants to talk about is my glands,” he once complained to me) raised both to greater success. I miss him.”
In an email message forwarded to the OPC, Gordon Crovitz, former publisher of The Wall Street Journal, called Loeb “a leader among the generation of American journalists who made business news as fascinating, engaging and instructive as any form of news. Thanks in large part to Marshall, it’s now hard to imagine that business, finance and technology were once considered dry topics.”
Current OPC Executive Director Patricia Kranz added that “Marshall Loeb was a very loyal and supportive member of the OPC. Every December he mailed a very generous donation check to help support the club’s work.”