Doug Delp

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Doug Delp, tough-talking and passionate journalist, dies at 63

Doug Delp, a longtime war horse of a journalist, died Tuesday of complications following abdominal surgery.

Delp, 63, was assistant managing editor of Bankrate.com, the online operation that styles itself as ''the Web's leading aggregator of financial rate information.'' He had worked for the North Palm Beach-based Bankrate for nine years, but longtime friends were never able to relinquish their image of Delp as an old school, tough-talking newspaper man.

His three-decade long newspaper career included stints with the old Fort Lauderdale News and the Detroit Free-Press but he is perhaps best remembered as an icon in The Miami Herald's Broward operation.

Delp was an award-winning sports reporter, a news reporter who relished crime stories, an occasional columnist and an editor known (and sometimes feared) for his blunt honesty.

His tough-minded, sometimes combative approach to journalism had probably been forged during the war in Vietnam, where Doug served from 1969 to 1971 as a captain in the U.S. Army. A helicopter pilot, Delp was shot down twice in Vietnam. The Army awarded him the Bronze Star for valor.

''This is a very, very sad occasion,'' said Douglas Kalajian, who met Delp when the two of them worked at The Herald's Broward Bureau.

``He embodied the spirit of the place and the times -- work hard, play hard. He was a great morale booster, but also a great and passionate journalist.''

And God help the young journalist who blew deadline. Delp would stand close by and bellow -- off key -- some horrible popular song of the day.

There was one particularly poignant moment that stood out in Kalajian's mind.

``We were at the Hollywood office on Presidential Circle when a typical afternoon storm rolled in: A booming summer soaker laced with lightning. We were all looking out the windows at the same scene, but Doug focused on the suddenly soggy American flag atop the pole. Without a word, he ran outside and hauled it down. He came back in soaking wet. It was a rare moment of insight into a man whose passions clearly ran deep.''

Delp, a native of upstate New York, had a bachelor's degree in journalism from St. Bonaventure University (where he played soccer) and a master's in journalism from Syracuse University.

He was a Dolphins football fan, loved tennis and was a famous scrapper of a sandlot basketball player.

For 20 years, Delp presided over a Sunday morning pick-up game (known as ''the Church of the Holy Hoops'') near his home in the Shady Banks neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale. He was dubbed ''The Commissioner,'' and the local playground was known among his basketball contemporaries as Delp Field.

Delp and his wife Elaine lived in Jupiter with their two dogs, Buddy and Haley. He is also survived by his brother Warren Delp of Kinderhook, N.Y., and his sister Pat Ackerman of Albany.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Published in the Miami Herald from Sept. 23 to Oct. 28, 2008
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