Rose DeWolf, 70, columnist

Posted: September 13, 2004

Rose DeWolf, an eternal optimist and a longtime columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News and The Inquirer, died yesterday of bone cancer at Pennsylvania Hospital. She was 70 and lived in Center City.

She was a graduate of West Philadelphia High School. From her student days at Temple University, where she wrote for the student newspaper as she earned her bachelor's degree, Ms. DeWolf never wanted to be anything but a journalist.

"She liked the variety of subjects, the great breadth of things she could write about, and she was an outstanding researcher," said her husband, Bernard Ingster.

"If there was any aspect of unfairness, she would try to ferret that out."

Ingster met his wife while she was a columnist for The Inquirer in the 1960s. His niece worked at the paper and arranged for a meeting. They were married in 1969.

"When I met her, her manner was so genuine, so simple, no affectations of any kind," he said. "And she was just a pleasure to interact with, because she interacted so easily.

"I thought, 'I can't quite believe that there is somebody like this.' "

Ms. DeWolf wrote a column called "Off Center" three days a week for many years for The Inquirer. It ended after her columnist counterpart, Joe McGinniss, left for Vietnam. She moved to the Daily News in the 1980s, where she continued to write until taking a medical leave in March.

"She was the only truly optimistic person I ever met in the journalism business," said Zachary Stalberg, Daily News editor. "It came across in the stories she did and how she chose to do them."

Ms. DeWolf wrote about murder trials, SEPTA fares and drug benefits. She questioned new Philadelphia stadiums, mourned deaths of uniformed officers, and reveled in odd hobbies.

But what she liked most was seeing the bad guys get caught.

"She loved writing about bungled robberies or some kind of crime that went wrong," said her friend, former Daily News writer Harriet Lessy. "One of her favorite stories was about a guy who drove to rob a bank in a taxi and was making his getaway and was surprised when he got caught."

Ms. DeWolf is also survived by her brother, David DeWolf of Elizabethtown.

Funeral and memorial services were not immediately set.

Contact staff writer Dawn Fallik at 215-854-2795 or dfallik@phillynews.com.

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