Longtime UPI staff member Ron Colbert dies

SILVER SPRING, Md., Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Longtime UPI broadcaster and writer Ron Colbert has died, family members said. He was 58.

Colbert had suffered a series of strokes the past several years but continued to write sports for the company until early 2010.


In recent months, Colbert underwent chemotherapy treatments for bone cancer. He had been hospitalized most of the past three weeks and died Monday due to complications from the strokes and cancer.

Colbert was with UPI for 25 years, starting with the UPI Radio Network in 1985, eventually becoming managing editor of broadcast services. When UPI discontinued its radio network, Colbert moved to writing sports.

He continued working after suffering two strokes and was cared for by his sister Carolyn Johnson, who said those years helping and getting to better know her brother "were very precious to me."

Colbert graduated from the University of Virginia in 1975 with a bachelor's of arts degree in American History. After college he had a series of jobs in radio, including an eight-year stint at WRAL in Raleigh, N.C., where he became the station's sports director prior to joining UPI.

Colleagues remember Colbert as a man who was upbeat, even at difficult times.


"I rarely spoke with Ron when there wasn't a positive tone to his voice and outlook even after he became ill … and it's that attitude I'll always remember about him," said UPI Executive Editor John Hendel.

Pat Nason, a NewsTrack editor, knew Colbert for many years.

"I worked side-by-side with him in Washington my first year with the company and admired his skill and work ethic," Nason said. "For a time, while I was working audio in LA, he was my supervisor, and he was as committed, professional and fair as any manager I've ever answered to."

"I'm heartbroken," said former UPI senior editor Bruce Cook. "I spoke to Ron recently. I never would have guessed how serious his condition was on that day because, as usual, we talked sports and, as usual, he made me laugh."

Colbert is survived by his sisters Carolyn Johnson and Karen Jenkins from the Washington area and Deborah Hal of Dallas. He is also survived by step-sister Robin Ogburn and many cousins.

Services are scheduled for Nov. 30 at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Silver Spring, Md. There will be a viewing from 9-10 a.m. EST, followed by a funeral mass.


Latest Headlines