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Arnold Rosenfeld

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Death: Died in Atlanta, GA
Place of Burial: Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of William Rosenfeld and Sarah Rosenfeld Schwartzberg
Husband of Ruth Rosenfeld and <private> Rosenfeld (Coletti)
Father of Private User; Jonathan Andrew Rosenfeld and Private User
Half brother of <private> Schwartzberg

Occupation: Journalist
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Arnold Rosenfeld

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

July 2, 2005 Saturday Home Edition

SECTION: Metro News; Pg. 4E;

LENGTH: 1265 words

HEADLINE: OBITUARIES: ATLANTA: Arnold Rosenfeld, 72, Cox Newspapers editor

BYLINE: TOM BENNETT

BODY:

Arnold S. Rosenfeld of Atlanta, a former editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, was known as much for his humanity as his journalism.

His daughter Missy Rosenfeld recalled her father, who died Friday, as a man who loved books and ideas. "My father was, at his heart, a philosopher and a poet, who somehow wound up being a nationally respected journalist," she said. "He was a man of deep integrity, heart and humor. He was a gifted writer, who blended incisive thinking with folksy witticism, and all the while managing to be a loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather.

Mr. Rosenfeld, also a retired editor-in-chief of Cox Newspapers, died Friday at Northside Hospital of complications of cancer. He was 72.

In 1994, Mr. Rosenfeld wrote eloquently in the newspaper about his fight with cancer --- which then had persisted five years. Surgeons had removed a cancerous kidney, a lung, a brain tumor, cancers from a leg and his bowel and, finally, part of his remaining kidney.

"These last five years --- I am 60 --- between all these operations and the joyless business of chemotherapy, I have lived a life," he wrote in a series, "A Life with Cancer." "I found joy and love in my family. We saw two of our children get married. We found friendship in good and bad times. We traveled --- and enjoyed it."

The joy of his recovery was tempered with sorrow when his wife, Ruth Rosenfeld, died of cancer in 1996.

He shared with the newspaper's readers his shock at the prospect of losing her in "Ruth's Story," a September 1996 article about her death. "I was terrified, I realized, at the thought of life without Ruth. Being alone was an idea infinitely worse than my own cancer. This was clearly self-interest of the worst sort," he wrote. "Shut up, I thought. This isn't happening to you. It's happening to Ruth. It's happening to the kids, to everyone who knows and depends on her."

His love for storytelling remained strong. "Even when his body and health failed him, he took no greater pleasure than to take a grandchild in his lap and read them a story and share that love of reading and writing that had been his life's work," Missy Rosenfeld said. "And at that moment, all his life's passions had come to fruition. We should all be blessed with such a life."

David Easterly, a retired president of Cox Enterprises Inc., remembered Mr. Rosenfeld fondly. "Arnold was an exceedingly creative editor," said Easterly, now of Amelia Island, Fla. "He did some heavy lifting on serious news, but understood that a paper should be friendly and fun. His great line was, 'A newspaper should be at least as helpful around the house as a good screwdriver.' "

"What distinguished Arnold as a newspaperman and a human being were the same things: his integrity, his skill, his humanity and his humor," said Tom Teepen of Atlanta, retired editorial page editor of The Atlanta Constitution and national columnist for Cox Newspapers. "He was a lovely writer and an insightful and extraordinarily effective editor who brought a deep sense of caring to both roles. He was passionate about journalism's principles and rightly impatient with its pieties."

The funeral is 3 p.m. Sunday at H.M. Patterson & Son, Arlington Chapel, in Sandy Springs. Green Lawn Jewish Funeral Services is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Rosenfeld came to Atlanta in 1988 as editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Seven months later, he was named editor-in-chief of the newspaper publishing division of Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises. The chain includes The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and 16 daily newspapers. He retired in April 2000. Before coming to Atlanta, Mr. Rosenfeld had been editor of Cox's Austin American-Statesman and Dayton Daily News.

Mr. Rosenfeld was one of the most influential editors in Cox's history. He befriended and trained many Cox leaders, including Mr. Easterly and Jay R. Smith of Atlanta, president of Cox Newspapers Inc.

"Arnold has been a teacher, a confidant, a colleague and a friend," Mr. Smith said. "We're lucky to find one person who can be any of those things. Arnold did all four, and so much more, for those of us whose lives he touched."

As chairman of the American Society of Newspaper Editors' minority affairs committee in 1988, Mr. Rosenfeld issued a scathing, headline-making report showing that U.S. newsrooms were falling far short of their goals for hiring minorities.

"Journalism is not life," he wrote in a 1979 guest article for the Washington Post. "It is not religion. It is observation and commentary, sometimes skilled. As I get older I have less and less a desire to live life as a journalistic ideologue. I am more interested in doing right than in following the rigid constraints of some journalistic code that shields me from choice. I am interested, at least, in trying."

In 1984, he was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for commentary for columns he wrote in the Dayton Daily News. During his career, he reported from China, Cuba and the Middle East. Mr. Rosenfeld won writing awards from the National Mental Health Association and the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors.

Mr. Rosenfeld was a founder and board member of Genesis Shelter for homeless newborn infants in Atlanta. He served on the advisory boards of the Emory University Winship Cancer Center and the Georgia First Amendment Foundation.

The New York City native was a student at the University of Houston in 1951. His failure to complete college, he said later, was "something I wouldn't recommend anyone trying. You need a good fundamental education."

He served in the Army in 1952 and 1953, including 13 months in Korea, and wrote columns about what he called "the forgotten war."

On Dec. 5, 1999, he married the former Rosalin Coletti, a clinical social worker in private practice who worked with Jewish Family Services for 22 years.

Judaism was an important influence in his life. In an interview in Atlanta's Jewish Times, he recalled seeing World War II newsreels of death camps. "I remember vivid images of bodies being bulldozed into open graves; emaciated bodies. It became very clear, even to my 12- or 13-year-old mind, that being Jewish was inescapable, and that you had some kind of debt to pay to the history that had produced you."

He served on the boards of The Temple and the Atlanta regional National Conference of Christians and Jews.

"As a board member of The Temple, Arnold was totally supportive," said Rabbi Alvin M. Sugarman of Atlanta, rabbi emeritus at The Temple. "He really understood the many types of demands placed on the rabbi as well as other synagogue staff.

"He was brilliant and insightful beyond my ability to describe, probably the single most well-read individual I've ever met. Arnold had an indomitable spirit."

In 1994, he wrote in the Journal-Constitution about life's brevity.

"I once asked my Uncle Sol, who lived in a retirement community until he died a few years ago in his 80s, what life was like for him. 'You know us, kid,' he said, 'We have only so much time, and we try to live each day as pleasantly as possible.'

"It was good advice, although we came to feel acutely the swiftness of time." Survivors include his wife, Rosalin Coletti Rosenfeld; a daughter, Lauren "Missy" Rosenfeld of Roswell; two sons, Jonathan A. Rosenfeld of Tampa and William B. Rosenfeld of Atlanta; a stepson, Alexander Coletti of Atlanta; a half-brother, Sam Schwartzberg of Plano, Texas; and four grandchildren.

--- Derrick Henry and Kay Powell contributed to this article.

GRAPHIC: RICH ADDICKS / Staff In 1994, former Atlanta Journal and Constitution editor Arnold Rosenfeld, shown here in 2000, wrote a moving series of articles, "A Life with Cancer," on an earlier bout with the disease.

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Arnold Rosenfeld's Timeline

1933
April 18, 1933
Brooklyn, New York, United States
2005
July 1, 2005
Age 72
Atlanta, GA
????
Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia, United States