Former Tallahassee Democratic editor-in-chief has left his mark


Those who knew him share their memories after learning that Tallahassee Democratic editor-in-chief Bob Gabordi died on Thursday. Here are a few. If you want to share, email us at [email protected]

News obituary:‘Energy, passion, determination’: Former Tallahassee Democratic editor-in-chief Bob Gabordi dies at 65

A columnist remembers:Small, a giant in the drafting

In his own words about his time in Tallahassee:Gabordi: Alongside MLK Jr. on the right side of history in the fight for civil rights

‘Changed my life’

Four years ago, I was a reporter who didn’t know what my future in journalism would be when Bob saw something in me that no one else saw. He gave me a job as an engagement writer at Florida Today and changed my life. If he hadn’t tried his luck with me, and believing in my potential despite my inexperience, I wouldn’t have ended up getting the job of my dreams.

Isadora Rangel

Bob loved journalism and he helped others understand why press freedom and local news are so important. But he was more than a newspaper editor. He was a family man who adored his wife, Donna, and his children, not to mention the cooking. Work was always better when Bob brought us his homemade Italian herb bread. Me and many others owe Bob a debt of gratitude. He will be sadly missed for his contributions to journalism and for the person he was.

– Isadora Rangel, Editorial Board Member, Miami Herald

‘Bigger than life’

Bob brought a larger-than-life personality to the Democrat. Everyone in our community knew his chocolate lab, his family and especially his daughter Jessica.

Bob was also very approachable. My wife and I used to go on Bob’s “Move” walks. When she and I planned to hike the 500 mile Camino, Bob suggested I blog on our trip. My response was, “What is a blog? I never imagined that our community would follow every step of our hike. Here I found the love of writing. This former CFO of a planes, trains and automobiles company found a creative outlet by writing about life and hiking. It has become one of the most rewarding parts of my life. E-mails from readers touch me.

Gregg Patterson

Also, when Bob moved south for a new gig, he asked me to take over Move, the walking band. I said yes, but on the way back I thought “What was I thinking?” My reward: In this divided nation, people from all walks of life come out and walk, talk and laugh.

– Gregg Patterson, Executive Director of Choose Tallahassee, CEO of IMS Business. He continues the Move Tallahassee walks after Gabordi became editor of Florida Today.

“His love of family”

Florida Today Editor-in-Chief Bob Gabordi, daughter Jessica, and wife Donna pose for photos at the Indiafest Sponsors Dinner in Florida Tech's Hartley Room.
Africa Prize

I’ve always loved Bob’s passion for journalism, but more than that I’ve always admired his love of family. When Bob recruited me to work in Tallahassee, it was his love for family that sealed the deal for me.

I was pregnant, still in my first trimester, when he made the offer. Where I’m from, you wait until you’re done in the first trimester before letting people know you’re pregnant – just in case. I had decided that her reaction to the fact that I was pregnant and had to take time off to give birth just a few months after being hired would determine whether I would accept the offer.

When I told Bob I was pregnant he was so excited like a proud uncle and replied, “This is awesome! I’ll help you raise it! I myself have five children! I wasn’t really expecting this reaction, but he’s the Bob we all know and love.

– Africa Gordon Price, a FAMU graduate who was hired as editor by Gabordi. She is now the Director of Government Affairs and Public Relations for the Town of Shreveport, Louisiana.

“A big heart”

Bob hired me in December 2014 and brought me back from the exile of daily journalism. He offered me my best job in a newspaper – storytelling coach. It was a chance to integrate everything I had learned teaching journalism at Florida A&M University and as a freelance writer.

Tallahassee Democratic storyteller Andrew Skerritt talks about love and loss at the Jan. 29, 2018 launch of the Tallahassee Storytellers Project at Monroe Junction.

Bob hired me in December but left Democrat about a month later. The short time I had to work with him was a blur. But I remember when Byron, TaMaryn, and I shot 300 inches telling the story of the FSU Campus Shooter, when other writers thought it was too long, Bob didn’t hesitate. He loved it and so did the readers.

Bob cared about Tallahassee’s health. Condolences to his family. He had a big heart.

– Andrew Skerritt, former Democratic storytelling coach of Tallahassee and deputy director of media relations for FAMU

“Your impact is profound”

I was very sad to learn of Bob’s passing yesterday. My heart breaks for his family as they navigate their new normal. But I do know that he lived 65 years and that during that time he gave them amazing stories and memories to cherish and help fill the physical void.

If you knew Bob Gabordi, you knew his family was everything to him. His family have been kind enough to form an FB group for his family and friends to share Bob’s memories and stories for the past few weeks and with each sharing familiar themes have emerged; finding and nurturing young talents, his love of sport, his passion for defending causes and the community and especially the family.

Curry Thro

And it’s important to note that for the Gabordis, family didn’t mean just by blood. I have my own memories of Bob Gabordi who also speak of these themes.

He was so supportive of me early in my career with Gannett and, more importantly, he also supported me in my personal life, when I faced the death of my parents and when I co-chaired the Relay for Life. life in Havana. He then introduced himself to me with his headphones and his Move t-shirt, he wrote a column highlighting all the Relays in our region, he gave me words of encouragement. I will never forget this and so many other times.

Bob, your time here has been well spent. Your impact is profound. Your legacy will continue through the words and actions of your children, grandchildren, coworkers and MANY neighbors in the community that you have raised and inspired over the years.

– Cari Thro, Democratic Advertising Director of Tallahassee

“Made an impression”

This story makes Bob look a lot better than I do as a human, but I guess it’s fitting.

Over 11 years ago, I got mad at a typo in the digital version of the Democrat.

Paula kiger

I emailed Bob about this on a Sunday morning … and heard from Bob within hours.

Now that I’m a digital publisher for a living, I give a lot more grace to this stuff (although it still annoys me!). I know what it’s like to receive an email that says, “Do you even proofread what you post?” »… when I do the proofreading (twice).

Here is the original post (with an excerpt from Bob’s email)

And I updated it recently here (I wasn’t aware of Bob’s rapidly declining health at the time – I just felt the need to share my new perspective).

I can’t find this 2010 email, but I hope the blog posts and snippet from his email reflects the real Bob.

And finally, it was about his humanity and his willingness to engage with a reader who made an impression, not the re-reading debate!

– Paula Kiger, non-profit writer at SmartBrief

“Inspiring for all of us”

I was sad to learn that Bob had passed away at the relatively young age of 65 after his illness. I learned so much from him in an OLLI course on blogging and social media engagement. The Democrat even published three of my articles!

His enthusiasm for storytelling, his family and the community inspired us all, and I felt so privileged to be in the Democratic newsroom with him. My condolences to those with whom he worked and to his family.

– Teri Cleeland, resident of Tallahassee

“Always the professional”

It is with sadness that I learn of the death of Bob Gabordi. I met Bob about a tragedy the Democrat covered up twelve years ago. Always professional, Bob understood the importance of discovering all the facets of a story.

Tallahassee lawyer Lance Block shakes hands with Governor Charlie Crist as Margie Weiss watches after Crist's signing

He clearly cherished the responsibility that journalism has to seek the truth, even when the news can be controversial in the community and cast a negative shadow on those in authority. Bob Gabordi was very good at his job, and was loved and respected in this community. He will be missed and appreciated. God bless him, his family and his friends. May his memory always be a blessing to them.

– Lance Block, lawyer and resident of Tallahassee

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