Oickle remembered as ‘consummate newsman’

Staff Writer
Published: 3/14/2019 6:31:37 PM

Alvin “Al” Oickle, who died March 12, is being remembered as a “consummate newsman” and a man who loved to tell stories. He was 93 years old. 

Wid Perry, whose father, Neil Perry worked with Oickle at the Greenfield Recorder Gazette in the 1970s, said he grew up down the street from the Oickles. 

“Our families were 10 houses apart on High Street in Turners Falls,” Perry said. “There were seven Oickle kids and six Perry kids.”

He said the two families had many joint backyard barbecues and trips, and they attended many Recorder family parties. Perry said his memories of Oickle in the newsroom are those of a man wearing black-rimmed glasses and sporting longer gray hair. 

“He loved to tell stories of hunting down a story, meeting people and writing a worthy piece,” Perry said. “He made a difference in so many people’s lives.” 

Oickle graduated from Greenfield High School in 1943 and was a World War II Infantry veteran. He worked at the Greenfield Recorder Gazette starting in the 1950s and retired sometime around 1980, about four years after recently retired reporter Richie Davis arrived. 

David James, who was sports editor at the Recorder in 1973, said Oickle first hired him part-time in the spring of 1969. 

“He hired me as a freelance sports writer — I’d write about basketball a couple nights a week,” James said. “Then I left for a while and he hired me back in ’73 as the sports editor — then a little later as a copy editor.”

James said Oickle was “quite the editor.”

“He was a throwback to the early days of journalism with the press badge and the hat — what you see in old movies,” James said. “He came from that era.”

James, who lives in Lake Pleasant and has been associated with the National Spiritual Alliance for some time, said Oickle had an “incredible database in his mind.” He said he knew everything there was to know about Franklin County and its history.

“I remember him fondly, even though he could be very abrasive at times,” said James.

Oickle was the author of “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep: A Husband’s Journal of Unconquered Fear, Cancer, and Death.” 

After Oickle left the Recorder, he took at job in public relations at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he also headed the news bureau and hosted a radio program. Throughout his life, Oickle was a journalist, feature writer for the Associated Press, radio broadcaster, author and lecturer in the Journalism Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

According to his obituary, which can be found on legacy.com, services, which are being handled by National Cremation of New Britain, Conn., will be announced at a later date.  

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