Worked 35 years at Daily News,
from mail clerk to news executive
Lou Parajos was a seen-it-all newsman at the rough-and-tumble New York Daily News. But for much of his 35-year career there, he came home at night to a quieter place: Ridgewood.
Mr. Parajos, who helped lead the tabloid's 9/11 coverage, died Monday at his new home in Washington Township. He was 64.
The cause was heart disease, said his daughter, Amy Nassivera Parajos.
Mr. Parajos did not intend to be a journalist. He was studying pre-medicine at City College of New York when his father, the Daily News' head mailroom clerk, died. Needing to work, Mr. Parajos left school and got a job in that same mailroom.
"He never looked back at college," his daughter said. "He looked forward to doing the best he could to earn money for his mother."
Promotions to copy boy and to reporting and editing positions ultimately, managing editor for news followed.
Mr. Parajos may never have studied journalism in college, but he knew things you don't learn in a classroom. When David Berkowitz went on trial in 1978 for the last of the Son of Sam murders, Mr. Parajos was on the story. To ensure he'd have a line to the newsroom, his daughter said, he put out-of-order stickers on the courtroom pay phones.
Martin Gottlieb, editor of The Record, worked with Mr. Parajos at the Daily News.
"Lou was a consummate tabloid editor who could identify choice news stories like a wine enthusiast distinguishing among vintages," Gottlieb said. "His eye was sharp, his humor droll. He was a great guy to work with."
Big and balding, Mr. Parajos liked to bowl, shoot pool and play poker.
"He was gruff but lovable with the people he worked with," his daughter said. "But he wasn't gruff with me."
Amy recalled their father-daughter outings to the Ridgewood duck pond.
"He loved Ridgewood and thought it was a great place to bring me up," she said.
Mr. Parajos left the Daily News in 2005. He then became editor-in-chief editor in chief of the weekly Queens Courier.
He retired last year and recently moved to the home Amy shares with her fiancé, Anthony Thanasides.
Mr. Parajos also is survived by his wife, Carolyne McIntire, from whom he was separated, and his former wife, Joan Nassivera, an editor with The New York Times.
Visiting will be tonight from |7 to 9 at C.C. Van Emburgh Funeral Home, Ridgewood. The memorial service will be held there Saturday at 11 a.m.
Published in The Record on Feb. 22, 2013