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Michael Frome, former WWU professor, nationally known environment writer, dies at 96

Former Western Washington University professor Michael Frome, a nationally known environmental journalist, died Sept. 4, 2016, in Wisconsin. He was 96.
Former Western Washington University professor Michael Frome, a nationally known environmental journalist, died Sept. 4, 2016, in Wisconsin. He was 96. Bellingham Herald

Michael Frome, a nationally known writer who taught environmental journalism at several colleges, including Western Washington University for eight years, died Sunday, Sept. 4. He was 96.

Frome died in Wisconsin, where he moved after retiring from Western in 1995. Frome wrote about conservation, environmentalism and the outdoors with the journalistic standards of a reporter and the passion of an advocate.

“I teach a different kind of journalism, advocacy journalism in behalf of the environment, yet hewing to basic principles of literacy, accuracy, fairness and meeting the deadline,” he told The Bellingham Herald in 2007.

Born in New York City, he served in World War II as an air transport navigator before becoming a reporter with The Washington Post. He next wrote travel articles for national magazines and newspapers before turning his focus to the environment.

“As a travel writer I spent a lot of time in the parks and forests,” Frome told The Herald in 1995. “I just became more interested in protection than promotion.”

He wrote more than 20 books and numerous articles for newspapers and magazines about the natural world and the need to protect it. In his next career shift, he taught environmental journalism in Vermont, Pennsylvania, Idaho and Wisconsin before coming to Western’s Huxley College of the Environment in 1987. He retired from Western eight years later and celebrated his 75th birthday that year by riding a hot air balloon over Ferndale.

Frome received numerous honors over the years. His most recent book was “Rediscovering National Parks in the Spirit of John Muir,” from The University of Utah Press.

In a 2007 interview with The Herald, Frome was asked how he would like to be remembered. Along with being remembered as a dedicated, competent, ethical professional, he added, “more important, personally, that I treasured friendships, and went out smiling.”

Donations

Services for Michael Frome will be in Wisconsin. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to: Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, 200 Wisconsin St., West Bend, WI 53095.

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