One of the most prominent journalists in the Honolulu media landscape has died.

Bob Jones, a former KGMB anchor, Honolulu Advertiser reporter and editor and MidWeek columnist, died early Monday of heart failure.

His widow, Denby Fawcett, said he was 85 and passed peacefully at their Diamond Head home.

Jones began his career as a police reporter for the St. Petersburg Times in Florida, later serving a three-year tour in the Air Force that took him to Europe, according to The Bob Jones Report website (“Red-Hot Opinion Erupting From Diamond Head”).

Bob Jones
Longtime Hawaii journalist Bob Jones died Monday. Courtesy: Denby Fawcett

It was while working as a general assignment reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal of Kentucky that he visited an area bar called the Blue Moon. It featured a wall painting of Waikiki.

“I barely knew where Hawaii was but I looked it up and saw that it then had two daily newspapers,” he recalled in a MidWeek story about coming to Honolulu.

He was hired by the Advertiser in January of 1963, first as a general reporter, then as its military editor.

Jones reported on the Vietnam War, which included accompanying the Kaneohe 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, in Phu Bai, Vietnam, in 1964. Once, while on patrol, he was severely wounded by a mortar strike, which he believed was an incident of friendly fire and not an enemy round.

Cec Heftel, the owner of KGMB television station in Honolulu, hired Jones away from the Advertiser to join the anchor team that included Bob Sevey, Tim Tindall, Jim Leahy, Mel Proctor and Joe Moore.

A book by Bob Jones tells of his life as a war correspondent and other journalistic adventures. 

In 1968 and again in 1972 he would leave KGMB to be an NBC News foreign correspondent in Vietnam and Laos. In 1970, he married Fawcett, a journalist. She joined him on his second NBC tour of Vietnam and worked as a war correspondent. Their daughter Brett Jones was born in Saigon in 1973.

Jones won several Emmy awards for his work. In 1982 he was a Peabody Award winner for the television news documentary, “Beyond the Great Wall: Journey To The End Of China.”

Jones quit KGMB for good in 1994. For many years he wrote an opinion column for MidWeek and was never shy about expressing his views on virtually any topic. He also wrote occasionally for Civil Beat where Fawcett has been a regular columnist since 2013. His hobbies included flying, scuba diving, skydiving and traveling “to exotic locales.”

In his 2012 memoir “Reporter,” Jones wrote, “An early reader of the manuscript for this book said he was struck by the fact that I always seem to land on my feet. I hadn’t thought of that, but it’s true.”

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