Almanac

News - June 19, 2013

Journalist Bill Workman dies at 77

A memorial service will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, July 1, at the Kings Mountain Community Center for William "Bill" Spears Workman Jr., an award-winning journalist and longtime Woodside resident. Mr. Workman died June 11 after a battle with prostate cancer. He was 77.

Mr. Workman worked for the Boston Globe before moving west for a John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in 1968-69. After graduation, he returned to the Globe, where he covered the Chappaquiddick incident in 1969, when a female passenger was killed after U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge.

He joined the San Francisco Chronicle in 1970. As a reporter, he covered many major news stories, including the Patty Hearst kidnapping in 1974 and the Chowchilla kidnappings in 1976. According to his wife, Marla Lowenthal, Mr. Workman made many television appearances on local news stations during his coverage of the Billionaire Boys Club scandal.

After years as a general reporter, Mr. Workman became the Peninsula bureau chief for the San Francisco Chronicle. For five years he wrote a column "Along the El Camino," covering stories and people on the Peninsula. After retiring, he freelanced for Gentry magazine for almost a decade, and for San Jose Magazine. For many years, he served as president of the Peninsula Press Club.

Mr. Workman was born in Malden, Massachusetts. He graduated from Malden High School in 1954 and joined the U.S. Army. After the Army, he studied journalism at Boston University and worked as a reporter for the Albany (New York) Knickerbocker News.

In 2009, the Almanac printed "A bench on Kings Mountain" by Marla Lowenthal. The article described Mr. Workman, who had a home in Kings Mountain, as an avid hiker. After suffering a stroke in 2005 and becoming wheelchair-bound, Mr. Workman knew he would never hike the trails again.

In remembrance, he wanted to put a bench on Kings Mountain saying "Bill loves Marla and Marla loves Bill." When the couple learned the bench would cost more than $3,000, they asked friends and family to chip in. And they did. More than 70 people came to the bench's dedication that spring in 2009. "We wanted to share this story of love and friendship. We wanted to share our love with the community and give back by providing hikers with a place to sit and enjoy the splendor of San Mateo County's redwoods," the article concludes.

Mr. Workman is survived by his wife, Marla Lowenthal; and son Joshua Workman of Fairfax.

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