Robert Cuthbertson Jr.
Robert Cuthbertson Jr., 74, a veteran East Bay journalist who covered the racial and political upheaval of the late 1960s and early 1970s for the Oakland Tribune, died January 30, 1998 of cancer. Mr. Cuthbertson, who retired in 1985 after more than 40 years in newspapers, left a solid reputation for journalistic accuracy and unflappability during times of crisis.
His journalistic experience included tours of duty as a copyboy, rewrite man, reporter-photographer and editor during stints at three Bay Area newspapers. His legacy has got to be his work during the late 1960s, particularly -- all the turbulence, rumors, fear and demonstrations,'' said Roy Grimm, a longtime friend and colleague at the Oakland Tribune. He was one of the people who kept Oakland from exploding due to racial conflict because he was very careful in his coverage and never printed gossip or rumors about what was happening.''
Mr. Cuthbertson was born in Richmond on May 10, 1923, and attended local public schools, graduating from Richmond High School in 1941. After attending San Francisco City College, he was hired as a copy carrier at the San Francisco Examiner. He worked there for about a year before landing a reporting job at the Richmond Independent, a daily newspaper.
A few years later, he went to work for the Oakland Tribune, where his aggressive reporting style and good police contacts won the admiration of his colleagues. He was absolutely rock solid. He was sure of everything that was in the stories he printed,'' Grimm said.
Later, Mr. Cuthbertson held a variety of desk jobs at the Tribune, and in 1973, he was appointed the paper's city editor, a job which he held until his retirement in 1985. His tenure was a period that saw many major news stories, including the slaying of Oakland schools chief Marcus Foster, the kidnapping of Patty Hearst, the fall of the Black Panther Party, two federal racketeering trials of Hells Angels members, three Oakland Athletics' World Series wins and two Oakland Raiders' Super Bowl victories.
During all of it, Mr. Cuthbertson remained cool and calm, earning the respect and admiration of his colleagues. He wasn't smooth and polished,'' said Grimm. He wouldn't fit the corporate newspaper mold. He was an old- fashioned newspaper man.''
Mr. Cuthbertson's wife, Dorothy, died in 1987. He is survived by a son, Douglas S. Cuthbertson of San Francisco, and a daughter, Roberta Jane Giari of Alamo. He is also survived by numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.