Betty Ann Bowser, Versatile TV Newswoman, Is Dead at 73


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Ms. Bowser graduated from Granby Excessive College in Norfolk in 1962 and enrolled at Ohio Wesleyan College, the place she joined the coed newspaper and rapidly displayed a trait that will mark her complete profession: versatility.

“Betty Ann began off on the weekly Ohio Wesleyan Transcript as a cub reporter, overlaying normal college information that ranged from the intense to campus hi-jinx,” recalled Larry Heinzerling, who was her editor there and went on to a distinguished profession with The Related Press. “Within the first class was protection of college efforts, finally profitable, to have Ohio Wesleyan finish racial discrimination at its fraternities and sororities. The latter included a narrative in Might 1965 on ‘spring fever.’ ”

That spring fever article reported on an epic campus water struggle.

“A parking ticket for the Dean of Girls, 4 flat tires for the campus policeman and free 1:30s for coeds” — the privilege of staying out till 1:30 a.m. — “had been a number of the negative effects of the season’s first all-campus water battle final Thursday night time,” Ms. Bowser wrote in her opening sentence.


Ms. Bowser in 1999 whereas working for the “PBS NewsHour.”

Credit score
Carol Powers/PBS NewsHour

Pursuing a double main in English and journalism, Ms. Bowser graduated in 1966 and took a job at WAVY, a Norfolk-area TV station, and later moved to WTAR, a station in the identical market, the place she was a co-anchor of the information report. She joined CBS in 1974.

The PBS article mentioned she would generally inform the story of scoring a quick interview with Richard M. Nixon, shortly after he resigned the presidency in 1974, by dropping in at a golf course close to his California dwelling on a whim. The modest scoop impressed Walter Cronkite, the CBS anchor, sufficient that he made a congratulatory telephone name to the not too long ago employed Ms. Bowser, who credited the incident with elevating her profile on the community.


Ms. Bowser “blazed a path early within the information enterprise when there weren’t many ladies in her spot,” a colleague mentioned.

Credit score
PBS NewsHour

She ranged far and vast as a CBS correspondent, overlaying nationwide tales in addition to worldwide ones just like the persistent famine in components of Africa. In 1980 she grew to become a bunch of “30 Minutes,” a newsmagazine program aimed toward youngsters. This system gained some Daytime Emmys however was canceled in 1982 due to low scores.

Ms. Bowser left CBS within the mid-1980s, amid cutbacks on the community. She nearly left journalism as properly. She supposed to enter the actual property enterprise, and did briefly. However then her husband, Chris Kelley, a former Pentagon correspondent at CBS, bought a job in Texas, and the housing market went dormant.

“I used to be in Texas, I used to be unemployed and we would have liked cash,” she advised The Virginian-Pilot in 1997, “so I went to the native PBS station searching for some freelance work for ‘NewsHour.’ ”

It was a step she took reluctantly, she mentioned. She had grow to be disillusioned with tv information and anxious about whether or not girls within the TV information enterprise could be allowed to “age gracefully” of their jobs.

“I went again kicking and screaming,” she mentioned. However “NewsHour” proved a very good match; she grew to become a normal project correspondent, overlaying tales that included the terrorist bombing in Oklahoma Metropolis in 1995.

Within the PBS tribute, colleagues recalled her means to attach and sympathize with unusual folks, as was evident in her work on the Oklahoma Metropolis assault, which killed 168 folks. She spent weeks reporting on the family and friends members of victims, and returned a number of occasions later.

“I adopted folks’s lives,” she advised The Virginian-Pilot. “There are unimaginable tales about what folks have accomplished, all these people who’ve risen to the event and accomplished wonderful issues with their lives.”

Ms. Bowser grew to become the “NewsHour” well being correspondent in 2006, reporting on points just like the scarcity of dental care and first physicians in components of the USA. In 2013 she returned to Oklahoma to report on a rising drawback that has since garnered rather more consideration: deaths from the misuse of prescription opioids.

“The folks dying from painkiller abuse don’t match the profile of unlawful drug customers,” she mentioned within the phase, which centered on a soccer participant on the College of Oklahoma who died at 22.

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Ms. Bowser retired in 2013. Her marriage to Mr. Kelley resulted in divorce in 1996. Along with her son Patrick, she is survived by one other son, Matthew.

Within the PBS tribute, Brian Gill, a cameraman, recalled working with Ms. Bowser overlaying Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“Folks we talked to would divulge heart’s contents to her,” he mentioned, “as a result of they knew that she cared about them and their scenario.”

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