San Francisco Chronicle Toasts 98-Year-Old Outgoing Science Editor David Perlman

His final day at the paper is today

David Perlman is finally retiring from the San Francisco Chronicle.

As the paper’s urban design critic John King notes in the paper’s farewell piece, even as recently as a year ago, Perlman, 98, wasn’t too keen on the idea of exiting. But it’s time. Today is his final day at the paper. He will continue as science editor emeritus:

Born in Baltimore, Perlman grew up in Manhattan, and studied government and journalism at Columbia University before nabbing a job as a copy boy at The Chronicle in 1940. By March of the next year, he was writing for the financial page–“Ship Shortage Threatens Severe Price Spiraling” was the headline above his first byline–and in October, he wed Anne Salz, a marriage that lasted until her death in 2002.

Then the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. That night, Dave was on the paper’s roof, dispatched to look for incoming planes. He thought he saw one, but it turned out to be a star. Two months later, he joined the Army Air Corps. It was 1951 before he returned to The Chronicle and San Francisco–he and Anne wanted to raise their children here.

One of Perlman’s earliest duties? Placing bets for Chronicle editors with bookies in the nearby Tenderloin district. We wonder what odds those folks would have given him on the idea of a copy boy lasting at the same newspaper until 2017.

In the Chronicle slide show, there are several great old black and white shots. Including one of Perlman and news editor Bill German watching model Mimi London, perched on a desk, as she reads the comics for Newspaper of the Air in 1968. That was the name of a show created that same year by KQED-TV, leveraging reporters on strike at the time at both the Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner. It was public television’s first daily news program.

Previously on Fishbowl:
San Francisco Chronicle 94-Year-Old Science Editor Still Going Strong