77 years after joining the San Francisco Chronicle as a copy boy, science reporter David Perlman is retiring.
The Chron's John King penned a loving tribute to his colleague which you should read, mainly because anyone who works in journalism for 77 years makes for a good story themselves. But because you're in a rush to cut out of work early, here're the best parts:
- Born in Baltimore, Perlman grew up in Manhattan, went to Columbia's school of journalism, and came to San Francisco to work as a "copy boy" for the Chron in 1940.
- Right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Perlman was sent to the Chron's roof to look for incoming enemy aircraft. He left in the paper 1942 to join the Army and returned in 1951.
- He was married to his wife Anne for 61 years and they have three children. She died in 2002.
- A photo of a young Perlman petting a bird in 1955 reveals that the nearly 100-year-old writer was a stone cold fox.
- Laid-up from a 1957 ski accident, a friend gave Perlman a book called The Nature of the Universe. This book triggered Perlman's passion for science, which he parlayed into a job as a science writer.
- He's covered everything from the early AIDS epidemic to evolution and reported from such spots as the Galapagos Islands and Antarctica. (A commenter on King's tribute complained that Perlman didn't write about AIDS early enough. Make of that what you will.)
- Awards are named after him.
- Perlman covered any topic he was assigned, not just science. For example, he attended a press conference for a Grace Kelly film and admired the actress' low key gin consumption.
- He is at hug-level with DiFi.
- The LA Times did a piece on him four years ago, which marveled that Perlman was still at work. They also said that he's shrunk.
- On aging, Perlman was overhead to say, "Doctors want to put their hands all over me ... I guess it beats being embalmed."
- Perlman's last regular piece for the Chronicle is about the upcoming eclipse and will run this Sunday.
It's unclear who, if anyone, will be tasked with filling Perlman's (science) shoes. And if you want to read more about him, check out this profile from 2013 that ran in the LA Times.