Earl Gustkey, a retired Los Angeles Times sportswriter who contributed articles to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and other Montana publications, died April 17 after a month-long battle with leukemia at St. Vincent Hospital in Billings. He was 69.
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Since retiring in 2001, Gustkey had spent most of his time in Bozeman, which he fell in love with during a snowy visit while on assignment as a young sportswriter from Orange County, Calif.
In Bozeman, he found new friends, interests and the Home Page Café for coffee. He contributed opinion pieces, book reviews and sports stories to the Chronicle. He shared his 30-plus years of expertise as a sportswriter and his love for history in articles he authored for Montana Quarterly and Big Sky Journal.
Gustkey, a big fan of women's college and professional basketball, became a familiar face courtside at MSU women's basketball games.
It was in Bozeman that Gustkey broke into Hollywood, as an extra in the HBO movie "Taking Chance," starring Kevin Bacon. The movie was filmed in Montana and debuted on TV last month.
Born in Washington, Pa., Gustkey, son of the late Harry Earl and Delphine Gustkey, was 10 when his family moved to Southern California. He graduated from Newport Harbor High School, attended Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa and graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in journalism.
He had worked for the sports departments at the Orange Coast Daily Pilot and the Oceanside Blade-Tribune before moving to the Los Angeles Times sports staff, first in Costa Mesa, then in Los Angeles. He covered the outdoors, boxing, USC football and the WNBA during his more than three decades at the Los Angeles Times.
Gustkey learned he had leukemia during a routine physical here in early March. He is survived by his wife, Nancy Yoshihara; and sister, Jane McCreadie of Lake Zurich, Ill.
Memorial services in Southern California are pending.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Apr. 26, 2009