Robert Signer, of blessed memory, died peacefully at the Hebrew Home in Rockville, Maryland, on November 18, 2022, after a short illness. He was 80 years old and lived in Takoma Park, Maryland.
Robert "Bob" was born in New York City, NY on February 19, 1942, to beloved parents Herbert and Esther Signer (née Pingaro). He began his journalism career as editor-in-chief of Ticker, the student newspaper at City College of New York Baruch College, and then as a copy boy at the New York Post. He earned a master's degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a second master's in American civilization from New York University.
Bob joined the Chicago Daily News in 1967, starting as a copy editor on the night desk and becoming a national correspondent in the Washington, DC bureau. He was the last metropolitan editor of that storied newspaper. When the Daily News folded, he took on the responsibility of announcing the news to the newsroom.
In Chicago, he found the subject he would study for his life – the rise and fall of great newspapers – and researched the life of the journalist Ben Hecht. Subsequently, he joined the Washington Post as an editor. After leaving the Post, he became an independent scholar, writing book reviews and doing research at the Library of Congress twice a week for nearly a decade for a monograph about the rise and fall of the New York World. Bearer of extensive knowledge about history, literature, politics and baseball, especially the Brooklyn Dodgers in their heyday, he treasured his carefully curated library of American literature and history.
Bob leaves a legacy of a family committed to intellectual pursuits, involvement in the world, and close ties. He loved nothing more than spending time with his family, and never forgot to recognize a family birthday or anniversary, even in his final weeks. Over the years, he kept in touch by writing letters, often on his old manual typewriter, sometimes waxing poetic and always remembering small details about his children and grandchildren's lives.
Bob is survived by four devoted children – Michael (Emily L. Blout), Charlottesville, Virginia; Mira (Abbie Kinnebrew), Richmond, Virginia; Rebecca (Sean Roche), Falls Church, Virginia, and Rachel (Anton Van Klopper), Adelaide Hills, Australia; loving sister Deborah Signer and brother-in-law Mark Balaschak, Bethesda, Maryland; nephews Eric Drummer, Evanston, Illinois, and David Balaschak and Matthew Balaschak, also in Maryland; numerous cousins, extended family and friends; former wife Marjorie Brahms Signer of Arlington, Virginia; and seven grandchildren, who brought him abundant joy in the final years of his life.
The funeral was held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, November 27, 2022 at Temple Rodef Shalom at 2100 Westmoreland Street in Falls Church, Virginia, followed by burial at National Memorial Park in Falls Church. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you honor Bob by making a donation to an organization that helps people in need of food, shelter, or health care, such as So Others Might Eat, or to humanitarian causes that promote peace and justice.