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Charles E. "Charlie" Hood

Died: Thu., Oct. 10, 2013

Celebration of Life

1:00 PM Sat., Dec. 14, 2013

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Charles E. "Charlie" Hood


MISSOULA - Charles E. "Charlie" Hood, professor emeritus and former dean of the University of Montana School of Journalism, has died of Parkinson's disease. Hood was a nationally recognized Montana newspaper journalist before joining UM in 1969, where he developed a longtime interest in international affairs. Maintaining a home in Missoula, he traveled extensively and worked in Kumamoto and Tokyo, Japan; in Prague, Czech Republic; and in Paris, France. He was 73.

A writer and educator throughout his life, Charlie was known for being a kind and knowledgeable teacher with a passion for making sure students knew how to get the facts to tell a good story, how to make a complex issue understandable, and how to do so with good humor and good grammar.

Hood was born Nov. 13, 1939, in Lewistown to Charles and Esther Hood and grew up in Big Sandy and Miles City. He graduated in 1957 from Custer County High School in Miles City. He won Class A All-State honors for two years in basketball and held the school's scoring record - 32 points in one game.

Years later, after a university-sponsored trip to eastern Montana, he wrote about going back home: "The Harmony Hangout, where I learned to jitterbug, is a senior citizens center. The Park Theater, where I watched Gene Autry movies for 12 cents on Saturday afternoons, is being converted into a nonalcoholic recreation center for young people."

But Charlie found that some things remained. "My former home at Orr and Tenth looked much as it did 30 years ago. The latest owner, who was mowing the lawn, invited me inside. To my delight, I found that the damage I had done by throwing a tennis ball against the dining room wall was faintly discernible. The graffiti I had painted on the garage wall - 'Davey Crockett, 1848' - was still there."

He earned his Bachelor of Arts in journalism in 1961 and a master's degree in journalism in 1969 from UM. His master's thesis was a biography of A.B. Guthrie, based upon a series of interviews with the Pulitzer Prize-winning author. For his doctorate degree in American Studies, received from Washington State University in 1980, he wrote a dissertation titled "'China Mike' Mansfield: The Making of a Congressional Authority on the Far East."

Shortly after beginning his newspaper career in Montana, Hood joined the U.S. Navy and first visited Asia. He served on the aircraft carrier USS Kearsarge in 1962-63, which was deployed to the Far East for eight months and visited Japan, the Philippines and Hong Kong. In 1963-65, he was operations officer on the minesweeper USS Stalwart. He received an honorable discharge in 1965.

Hood was a reporter for United Press International in Helena, and was a reporter and editor at a number of Montana newspapers, including the Lewistown Daily News, the Great Falls Tribune and the Missoulian. In 1975, he and reporter Charles S. Johnson, were winners of a National Headliner Award for a 17-part series they wrote about Montana lawyers.

Throughout his academic career, Hood wrote for newspapers, and he organized, moderated and spoke at symposiums. A special report about drug use in Montana that he wrote with broadcast professor Phil Hess won recognition from the American Medical Association.

Hood began teaching journalism at the University of Montana while he was a graduate student and was hired as an instructor in 1969. In 1982, he was promoted to professor, the same year he was named acting dean for one year. At the time, he said he didn't intend to be "just a caretaker dean" who "minds the paperwork" for the Journalism School on an interim basis. He told the Missoulian "I hope we can be trying some new things and improving ourselves."

After a national search, he was named dean in 1983. He served as dean for a decade, and cemented the Journalism School's reputation as one of the best in the country. Student evaluations said of him: "a font of knowledge, seems to know something about everything, very bright, informed, educated, intelligent, well-read and he knows all." Students' suggestions for improvements recommended "more coffee, keep up the good work, bag the senior paper and maybe wear a three-piece suit."

Hood resigned from the dean's position in 1993 to return to teaching, and he continued to run the school's graduate studies program.

During his 26 years as a professor and dean, Hood developed a special interest in international affairs. Among his many university-related activities, he and professor Paul Lauren co-organized the inaugural event in 1984 for the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center a�" "The China Hands' Legacy: Ethics and Diplomacy." Hood also was a principal organizer of other international events, including "Journalists in China" in 1991, "Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor: Ethical and Historical Perspectives" in 1992, and "Press Freedom in Japan and the United States" in 1993.

"His work on these issues reveals Charlie's broad intellectual curiosity and honesty, his passionate interest in questions of public policy, and his deep interest in ethics and speaking truth to power, even when the powerful did not want to hear it," said Lauren, who is Regents Professor Emeritus.

In 1989-90, Hood taught and studied in Japan as an exchange professor at Kumamoto University. In 1995, he was an exchange scholar in journalism at Toyo University in Tokyo. While living in Kumamoto, he wrote "Sometimes, I think, you have to see things for yourself before you can really understand what is going on in a foreign country."

Hood retired from UM in 1995. His post-retirement work included five stints as copy editor at the International Herald Tribune in Paris, and working as a copy editor, writing coach, feature writer and opinion writer at The Prague Post, an English-language newspaper in the Czech Republic.

Charlie had a desire to learn from students and journalists from former communist countries, and he wanted them to be able to write free of censorship and other constraints. He developed the journalism program at the first English-language university in the Czech Republic after the Velvet Revolution. The program continues today.

In 2005-06, he created a journalism exchange relationship between UM and Charles University in the Czech Republic. He led students from both universities in a project called Common Ground, which brought students together in Missoula and Prague in summer 2007 to produce a report comparing and contrasting the Czech Roma and Native Americans in Montana.

Hood continued to serve on the advisory board of the Montanan, UM's alumni magazine, until his death. Until recent years, he attended every Journalism School event as an engaged learner and active participant.

He leaves his wife, Joan (Jana) Hood; two sons, Kevin and Brian of Missoula; daughter, Hadley (John) Ferguson of Missoula; granddaughter, Sarah Ferguson; his sister, Marilyn (Duane) Dietrich of Tucson, Ariz.; and nieces and nephews. Charlie also leaves an extended family of former students around the globe.

A celebration of life service will be held on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 1:00 P.M. at the Masquer Theater located on the University of Montana campus.  A reception will follow at Don Anderson Hall located in the Journalism Building also on the campus.  Contributions in Charlie's name may be made to Summit for Parkinson's and to the School of Journalism for a scholarship to support students pursuing international journalism.

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Condolence Booklet

Jeff Herman
   Posted Sat October 12, 2013
The Fourth Estate will never be the same. Charlie was a pro in every sense of the word. And he was a very compassionate, sensitive human being.

John and Sally Tibbs
   Posted Sun October 13, 2013
We should not have procrastinated; we had every intention of getting together for lunch. John and I were shocked to hear of Charlie's death. It was such a pleasure getting to know him in Kumamoto and being with him during his final courageous battle with Parkinson's disease. We will miss him.

Dan and Laura Zumpfe
   Posted Sun October 13, 2013
Many condolences to Joan, Hadley, John, Sarah, and the rest of the Hood Family.

Judy Killen
   Posted Mon October 14, 2013
I'm sorry to hear of Charlie's death. He was my adviser and dean when I was a journalism student in the 1980s and I've drawn on what I learned from him often in my work for Wyoming newspapers. My sincere condolences to his family.

Vivian Brooke
   Posted Mon October 14, 2013
Dear Family, I am so sorry to learn of Charlie's passing. He was one of a kind and a true scholar in every way. He leaves behind good work and writings that will serve us all for years to come. May all the good memories you have bring smiles to your hearts and heal the pain of your loss.

With care, Vivian Brooke

Cindi A. Jobe
   Posted Mon October 14, 2013
Hadley and family - My family and I were so sorry to hear of Charlie's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all as you remember him and mourn his loss. Thank you for being a light in this sometimes dark tunnel of Parkinsons.

Rich Landers
   Posted Mon October 14, 2013
Charlie mentored me as a student and Montana Kaimin editor. I packaged as much of his kindness, reason, curiosity, integrity and positive energy as possible and I still dip into it regularly 40 years later. What a gift he was to Montana journalism.

Susan Cuff
   Posted Tue October 15, 2013
"You're not Poe. Don't use 'saith the raven,' " Charlie would tell our class of budding reporters when we wrote, " ... said John Doe ..." in a practice news story. I will never, ever forget that lesson and I'll never forget Charlie. He taught me as much or more than any college instructor I had. Peace to his family.

Dorcie Dvarishkis
   Posted Tue October 15, 2013
Our prayers lift up your family as you surround yourselves with love and memories of your years with Charlie. I am grateful to have shared some time with him at UM and a few stories of the Czech Republic. He was a unique and gifted man. God's peace to you all.

Douglas Wilks
   Posted Tue October 15, 2013
Professor Charles Hood had an impact on me that I still recall today. In 1982 I was a freshman at UM in Missoula and Professor Hood was my very first college advisor. He was very much a professional and knew a great deal about journalism and what students needed to learn. He helped me again in 1987 when I returned to UM and was in the journalism program. Although I did not become a journalist, I still use many of the things he taught me in his classes and sitting across from him in the advising sessions. I am very sorry to read about your loss.

David Jolly
   Posted Tue October 15, 2013
What a loss! Charlie was a wonderful man and a colleague on the International Herald Tribune - kind and generous, thoughtful and smart, always calm under pressure, and quick to lend a hand. His legacy in Paris lies with the generation of journalists who learned from working with him. Rest in peace, friend.

Joan Miller Elmore
   Posted Wed October 16, 2013
My condolences to Charlie's family. I went to school with him in Miles City. He was a great guy even then, friendly, intelligent and humble are only a few of his attributes. I only wish I had attended a class reunion when he was able to be there.

Dana HurtovA
   Posted Sun October 20, 2013
Dearest Jana, Hadley and the whole family - I am so sorry to hear of Charlie's passing. My condolences to the whole family. I will always remember him, his friendly voice, questions he asked about the Czech Republic, our history ...
JaniAko, drA se! PosAlAm velikou pusu a moc na Tebe myslAm v tAC.to smutnAC. dobA. MAm vAs oba hluboko zapsanAC. v mAC.m srdci - na vAky. Ani dAlka ani nic jinAC.ho na tom nic nezmAnA.

Lexie Verdon
   Posted Mon October 21, 2013
Charlie was a wonderful teacher who set very high standards for his students but helped us achieve them. I am deeply grateful for all his help while I was a student, and I always enjoyed visiting with him as an alum. He will be remembered fondly. My deepest condolences to his family.

Sarah Snyder
   Posted Tue October 22, 2013
On my recent visit home to Montana I was deeply saddened to learn of Charlie's death; I had hoped to meet up with him and catch up. Charlie was a much-admired mentor for me while I pursued a graduate degree in the J School in the early '90s. His skill in composing the perfect sentence and knack for knowing just what to ask interview subjects were unmatched. Those attributes, coupled with his gentle manner, allowed Charlie to guide UM's J School students toward becoming outstanding journalists and gain an international reputation as among some of the finest turned out in any American J School. Rest in peace, friend.

Pat Hertel
   Posted Thu October 24, 2013
Charlie was such a kind and generous person. One of the highlights of my career at The Prague Post was when he turned in a story to me that he had written, saying he wasn't happy with it. Taking this as an invitation, I edited with a heavy hand. I was a bit apprehensive- after all, he was the Pro, and I was the kid. The next day he came into my office and I was sure he was going to complain that I had ruined his article. Instead, he said, "You are a great editor!" His passing is a sad loss for all who knew him. RIP Charlie, a good guy.

Ross Larsen
   Posted Thu October 24, 2013
I'm one of the many people that he touched during his time in Prague. I can recall the timber of his calming voice as if he's talking to me right now. I think he had a positive influence on everyone he encountered, even if they had one cup of coffee with him. Artist, philosopher, man of words. On to better things Charlie! Miss you already. Sbohem soudruh.

Elizabeth McMahon
   Posted Fri October 25, 2013
As a young journalist working at the Prague Post, I was reassured by Charlie's grown-up presence in what was essentially a college newspaper atmosphere. He was a talented, warm, wonderful man. My condolences to Charlie's family and loved ones.

Siegfried Mortkowitz
   Posted Fri October 25, 2013
Charlie was a very supportive colleague and a great friend. The weather always seemed to improve when he was around. I missed him these last few years and will continue to miss him. As will everyone who knew him. Our condolences to Jana and the family.

Louise Fenner
   Posted Fri October 25, 2013
Charlie Hood was new to teaching when I was at the UM Journalism School, so I was very lucky to know him. Everyone liked him and thought he was a great teacher. I was happy when he was named dean in 1983, and I wish I could have seen him in action. Even though we hadn't been in contact, he heard about my mother's death in 2009 and sent me a nice condolence letter. Charlie, I didn't answer you, and I'm sorry. You are an example of a life well-lived.

Lisa Frankenberg Leshne
   Posted Fri October 25, 2013
I was one of the many honored to work with Charlie at The Prague Post. He was always kind and generous with his time and knowledge. We were lucky to have someone as talented and experienced as Charlie to learn from, and his many contributions made the newspaper better. I'm saddened to hear of his passing and I'd like to extend my condolences to his family and friends.

Tomas Kellner
   Posted Fri October 25, 2013
I worked with Charlie as a student at the Prague Post. He helped me see the essence and the importance of good journalism at a time when the profession was still at its nadir in Eastern Europe. Charlie gave me invaluable insight when I was applying to a journalism school in the U.S. and starting a career, which eventually included eight years as a writer at Forbes magazine. He was a kind person and one of the best mentors I've ever had. I miss Charlie and my heart is with you in this sad time.

adam ellick
   Posted Mon October 28, 2013
So sad to read about the death of Charlie Hood, one of my first writing coaches and mentors as a cub reporter at The Prague Post. Wise and patient, Charlie literally went through articles line by line for hours at a time. He later become a friend during difficult days, and I recall hosting him at The New York Times several years ago, the last time we met. He is missed by many.

Hisako Fukuyama
   Posted Tue October 29, 2013
I remember his smiling face. I remember the wedding in Kumamoto, Japan with cherry blossom, and Tea Ceremony in the cozy old Japanese Tea House. I remember Hadley and Charlie playing with Shatzie, a dachshund. I remember Charlie driving a red car in Prague and parked it a wrong place when we went to enjoy Opera. I wish I could have seen him again.

Paul and Peggy Miller
   Posted Thu November 07, 2013
To Charlie's Family,

We first learned to know Charlie as a UM student in the late 50s. When we returned to Missoula in 1969 we were surprised and delighted to discover that our friend not only lived here but also worked on campus like Paul and, for many years, was our neighbor across the street. Throughout this time our worlds and families have overlapped. We were integrated into families by the name of Hood, Jacobs, Skinner and Ferguson. Our last visits with Charlie were heart-rending with respect to the inevitable, yet uplifting due to the manifestation of his stellar character. We recently challenged each other to come up with one word that describes Charlie and came up with the same word: gentle.
Love to all the family,
Paul and Peggy Miller

Kirstin Miller
   Posted Thu November 07, 2013
Charlie was one of the most sincere, funny, handsome and kindest men I've known. I loved the way he really tuned into you; he really cared. I'll really miss him. I feel lucky that he was part of my life and my family's for so many years.

peggy miller
   Posted Wed November 13, 2013
Remembering Charlie today on his birthday..........

Renee Valley
   Posted Thu December 12, 2013
I was very saddended to hear of Charlie Hood's passing. He was my professor for Intro to Journalism back in 1979 or so. He was a kind teacher and taught me much about grammar. I still have the book! He gave me an appreciation of the English language.

One of the things I do remember is when he taught us about euphemisms. At the time there was a commercial on TV with Jane Russell advertising Playtex girdles. He told us the commercial was a euphemism for "full-figured" women.

Yes, he was very kind. I learned so much from him, and he stands out to me as a professor I have never forgotten. I might say he was one of my best professors I ever had here at UM!

Linda Frey
   Posted Fri December 13, 2013
He will be remembered with great fondness as an individual who made the world around him better. The world shone a little brighter with him in it. Linda

Pat Murdo
   Posted Fri December 13, 2013
Charlie packed a lot into his life and for that we all are better off and grateful. His death is a reminder to stay in better touch because we don't always have a tomorrow in which to do so.

Kaipolani Wallwork Fake
   Posted Sat December 14, 2013
Dear Brian and Kevin,
I am so sorry for the loss of your dad and am sending you both my most healing thoughts and prayers.

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