Former Pilot reporter dies at 61
Skip Gray/ Gavel Alaska
Bob Tkacz, a reporter for the Petersburg Pilot from 1986 to 1989, died in his office in Juneau at the age of 61. His body was found on Tuesday, May 27.
The Juneau Police Department reported there were no signs of foul play and added there were indications of medical issues. Additional information could not be shared, according to police.
With his departure from Petersburg, Tkacz headed to Juneau to work as a freelance writer, eventually starting his own newsletter, "Laws of the Sea," which he established in 1994, according to a report in the Juneau Empire.
Fellow journalist Gregg Erickson, editor of the Alaska Budget Report, said Tkacz covered the legislature for 33 years. The Empire quoted Erickson, "Around the Legislature, he was known for his tenacity and his unshakeable honesty. He'd ask the same question again and again and again until they answered or shut him up in a not-so- gentle way."
Tkacz was largely responsible for keeping the press room in the Capitol from shutting down. Friend Tom Cosgrove, as quoted by the Empire, noted, "He basically refused to leave the Capitol. There was a huge fight between (Legislative) Affairs and him. They were pretty much tearing down the office around him." The press room was eventually moved downstairs.
"Bob took me downstairs to the tiny little cubby hole he and the press corps worked in each day, on one of my visits to Juneau. He was pretty proud of that place," Pilot publisher Ron Loesch added.
Loesch said, "Tkacz was a tenacious bulldog when it came to covering news. He was sometimes too aggressive in his coverage of Petersburg news, but in Juneau he found his niche. Covering
the legislature was where he needed to be."