Veteran Hawaii reporter Bob Jones has died aged 85

One of the most prominent journalists in the Honolulu media landscape has passed away.

Bob Jones, former KGMB presenter, Honolulu Advertiser reporter and editor, and MidWeek columnist, died Monday morning from heart failure.

His widow, Denby Fawcett, said he was 85 and passed away peacefully in their Diamond Head home.

Jones began his career as a police reporter for the St. Petersburg Times in Florida, later serving on a three-year tour of the Air Force that took him to Europe, according to the report’s website. Bob Jones (“Red-Hot Opinion Erupting From Diamond Leading”).

Longtime Hawaiian journalist Bob Jones died on Monday. Courtesy of Denby Fawcett

It was while working as a general assignment reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal of Kentucky that he went to a neighborhood bar called Blue Moon. It featured a Waikiki mural.

“I barely knew where Hawaii was, but I looked around and saw that there were two dailies then,” he recalls in a MidWeek article about his visit to Honolulu.

He was hired by the Advertiser in January 1963, first as a general reporter, then as a military editor.

Jones reported on the Vietnam War, which included accompanying 3rd Battalion Kaneohe, 4th Marines, to Phu Bai, Vietnam, in 1964. Once, while on patrol, he was seriously injured by a mortar, which he believed to be an incident of fire friends and not an enemy tower.

Cec Heftel, the owner of KGMB television station in Honolulu, hired Jones away from the announcer to join the team of presenters which included Bob Sevey, Tim Tindall, Jim Leahy, Mel Proctor and Joe Moore.

A book by Bob Jones chronicles his life as a war correspondent and other journalistic adventures.

In 1968 and again in 1972, he left KGMB to be NBC News’ foreign correspondent in Vietnam and Laos. In 1970, he married Fawcett, journalist. She joined him on his second NBC tour of Vietnam and worked as a war correspondent. Their daughter Brett Jones was born in Saigon in 1973.

Jones has won several Emmy Awards for his work. In 1982 he won the Peabody Award for the television documentary “Beyond the Great Wall: Journey To The End Of China”.

Jones left KGMB for good in 1994. For many years he wrote an opinion column for MidWeek and never hesitated to voice his opinions on virtually any subject. He also writes occasionally for Civil Beat where Fawcett has been a regular columnist since 2013. His hobbies included flying, scuba diving, parachuting and traveling “to exotic places”.

In his 2012 memoir “Reporter,” Jones wrote: “One of the early readers of this book’s manuscript said he was struck by how I always seemed to land on my feet. I hadn’t thought about it, but it’s true.

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