|Remembering one Coastside veteran ...|
El Granada resident Dick Alexander had an enviable life of adventures that could’ve been made into a Hollywood bio-pic.
He flew military planes as an Army Air Corps pilot in World War II. He was also a big-band musician with several records produced by Columbia and Manor records. And along with that, he was also a very skilled journalist who worked for decades at the San Francisco Examiner during the paper’s heyday. Even in retirement, he journeyed around the globe doing travel writing, making friends and collecting walking canes — canes that I’m pretty sure were for style, not walking.
Dick’s life as a journalist was how I came into contact with him. I looked him up after hearing about a retired journalist on the Coastside who was still penning articles about the FBI during the Watergate years. When I met him, I was immediately impressed with how active his mind was — not only was he still writing, he had recently completed a short play about San Francisco newspapers in the ‘50s. And it was a good play, too.
For me, having just landed my first reporting job at a newspaper, Dick was an easy person to admire. He was a man who had done it all and wrote about it.
Our meeting led to a short profile of Dick for the Review — , which revolved around his mission to help exonerate a friend who committed suicide.
I remember chatting with Dick later, and getting some friendly advice on my storytelling.
“The lead thing in the story shouldn’t be my age,” he advised me, pointing out the first thing I mentioned was that he was 90 years old. He was right.
He invited me to come back and chat anytime. I took a rain check that I honestly intended to use someday. I thought of him as a friend, and there were plenty of stories left in him — I hadn’t even asked him about his war years.
But that opportunity is lost. He died last month at his home.
So the least I can do now is to recognize Dick Alexander on this Veterans Day.