|Birth: ||Oct. 9, 1882|
|Death: ||May 26, 1944|
City Editor of the Post-Gazette Warren Ursinus Christman, 61, managing editor of the Post-Gazette (and of one of its predecessors, the "Post") for 30 years, died Saturday at his home at 1009 Cochran road, Mt. Lebanon. He had been ill for two months.
Services will be conducted at 2 p. m. Wednesday in the Edward B. Laughlin Funeral Home, 3310 West Liberty avenue. Burial will be in Mt. Lebanon Cemetery.
With the usual forehandedness of a newspaperman of his experience, and a respect for the completeness of the newspaper library, Mr. Christman prepared for this story 12 years ago. In an envelope labeled "Christman, W. U.," he left this material for his obit:
"Warren Ursinus Christman, born Minersville, Schuylkill county, Pa., October 9, 1882. Parents: The Reverend David Miller Christman and Myra Weidner Christman. Came to Pittsburgh and the 'Post' in February, 1910. Police reporter few months; copy desk few months; night editor several years and managing editor since April, 1914. Married Florna Jane Whittaker, of Middlesboro, Ky., December 19, 1910."
That was all-except for the usual listing of survivors. No. It wasn't quite all. We're going to violate a confidence. He added a couple of sentences which embraced his philosophy of life, for he was seized at the moment by one of his frequent spells of sentiment. Then, with his usual aftermath of feigned cynicism, he marked them out. "Chris" had added these words about himself: "Believed the plan of creation was all wrong and that a new deal should be made. He hated suffering of any nature and loved babies."
He laughed those sentiments off with one word, "Amen," before he wielded a blue pencil on, his own notations.
His self-written obituary was typical of the man himself.
His pretense of gruffness on occasion never fooled any of the hundreds of newspapermen who worked with him and for him. They knew a request for a favor, even if they didn't have it coming to them-some extra time off, an advance on salary or a personal loan-might as frequently as not bring a sharp "No!" But they knew his "No" never counted. A few seconds later he would Change his mind. He always did.
This sentence, anyhow, he would not have challenged: He was never able to turn down anyone who needed his help. And his resulting kindnesses not only endeared him to the host of newspapermen who moved 'through his "shop," but to countless friends who had occassion to know of his intense loyalties.
It was typical of "Chris" that he should pass over his rise from police reporter to managing editor in a little over four years with the bare notation of dates. For he wasn't one, to blow his own horn. But those who were around at the time of his promotion to the managing editorship recall the circumstances. There had been a rapid, turnover on what was then the "hot seat" of the office. There had been six men in the job during his brief term on the paper. When it came his turn to be offered the job, "Chris" turned it down. Friends, however, prevailed upon him to try it out. He did, and the. first night on the new desk, Christman hung up a sign:
"This Way Out!" "
But it didn't work that way. He brought to his new job a freshness of viewpoint, an Unorthodoxy in the treatment of news that caused Pittsburghers to sit up and take notice. In a little black notebook he kept from that day to his death, he noted circulation figures.
Gradually the figures started to mount, then to soar. In later years, with circulation figures approaching a quarter of a million daily, he pined for the "old days." He often deplored the passing of the "old-time" reporter, a carefree, roustering sort with a quick wit and a ready, colorful turn of phrase. But he nevertheless prided himself on the staff with which he had surrounded himself In recent years. The college man had Invaded the newspaper business. There weren't so many good stories you could tell about them, he would admit, but they could write as good or better stories about others.
All through the years these men learned to rely upon him. "Teacher, friend and father-confessor" he was called when, the staff held a banquet In his honor on his twenty-fifth anniversary with the paper.
Mr. Christman's newspaper career started in Tiffin, Ohio, where his family then lived. He related that the smell of printer's ink came to him one day while working as "trouble shooter" for the Bell Telephone Company on a pole out- side the newspaper office. He climbed down and went inside to ask for a job. He got It.
Later he worked on newspapers in Canton and Cincinnati, Ohio, and Denver, Col.
At intervals between newspaper jobs he occupied himself with his second love-the theatrical business. He once worked for a while with RObinson's Circus and was manager for a time of the Majestic theater, Lorain, Ohio. He was always glad that he quit that job when he did. For a few days after he had resigned, the theater collapsed in a high wind and killed 40 of its patrons.
He never regretted that he settled down finally in Pittsburgh. He came orlgmally to be married but ...
Florna Jane Whittaker Christman (1883 - 1969)*
Mount Lebanon Cemetery
Created by: Dave Francis
Record added: Nov 12, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 44255526