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Ronald Moskowitz

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Ronald Moskowitz Obituary
Ronald Delano

Born October 20, 1933, in Galveston, Texas. Died October 31, 2013, in San Francisco, after celebrating his 80th birthday the week before. Services were held November 4 at Sinai Memorial Chapel, with interment at Eternal Home Cemetery in Colma, CA.

Survived by sister, Natalie Moskowitz Ornish of Dallas, Texas; and several nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews. Preceded in death by his parents, George I. and Bess Moskowitz of Texas City, Texas; brother, Herschel Moskowitz; and sisters, Charlotte Moskowitz and Esther Moskowitz Rosenthal.

Contributions in his memory may be made to either the Education Writers Association, 3516 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; or to the University of California San Francisco Foundation, which is the giving, receiving, and investing arm of the University of California San Francisco: Box 45339, San Francisco, CA 94145-0339.

Mr. Moskowitz graduated from Ball High School in Galveston and attended the University of Texas at Austin.

He began his journalism career in 1957 as a general-assignment reporter for the Houston Post. The publisher of the Post, former HEW Secretary Oveta Culp Hobby, was impressed with his work and named him education editor. He also freelanced as a Gulf Coast correspondent for Time, Inc., and wrote a cover story for the Saturday Review.

In 1961, he moved to San Francisco to become the first education editor of the San Francisco Examiner, the city's largest newspaper, and the first person with that job title at any newspaper in California. In addition to covering the education beat, he also wrote a byline column. He was considered the dean of education reporters, and the Examiner's sister paper in Los Angeles, the Herald-Examiner, also used his coverage and published his column.

Mr. Moskowitz was an active member of the Education Writers Association, the 66-year-old national professional organization of members of the media who specialize in covering education, which today boasts a membership of 2,500. In the early 1960s, when the organization was on the verge of folding, Mr. Moskowitz, along with fellow member Fred Hechinger, education editor of the New York Times (the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media at Columbia University is named for him), secured funding to save and revitalize it.

In 1964, Mr. Moskowitz was appointed by California Governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown (father of current governor Jerry Brown) to become the state's first Education Secretary. His job included nominating appointees to educational boards, making recommendations on educational legislation, writing education-themed speeches, and traveling with the governor.

In 1966, he was invited to help organize a new public-private education partnership at the state level resulting from the Compact for Education. The Education Commission of the States became a national organization formed by states, for states, to help improve their educational systems, from pre-kindergarten through college and beyond. Mr. Moskowitz personally signed up 266 members in 38 states during the organization's first six months.

In 1968, he returned to journalism as education correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle, which had become the city's largest paper. Coverage of campus demonstrations during the Vietnam War by a team of reporters and photographers under his leadership won several awards.

He also served as a consultant to U.S. Commissioners of Education Francis Keppel, Howard Howe, and James Allen, as well as advisor to HEW Secretary and Carnegie Foundation president, John Gardner.

Mr. Moskowitz retired in 1980 and pursued interests in travel, gourmet cooking, and residential real estate.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Nov. 2, 2013
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