Charles A. Frush, 85, retired Inquirer newsman

Posted: October 11, 2012

CHARLIE FRUSH specialized in sportswriting during much of his Philadelphia newspaper career, so it was natural for him to cover the Bug Olympics.

Unfortunately, the Schuylkill Valley Nature Center had to cancel the Bug Olympics because not enough bugs showed up. Nevertheless, the incident gave Charlie a chance to flex his considerable flair for the offbeat story.

"Not that there weren't enough six-legged competitors ready to burst their labial palpi or break their mesothoraxes in the name of the competition," he wrote in the Inquirer in 1982. The problem, he wrote, was that not enough humans showed up to bring the contestants.

Charles Albert Frush, who was an Inquirer writer and editor from 1961 to 1993, covering a variety of stories, from college and professional sports to features and general-assignment topics in Philadelphia and South Jersey, died of pancreatic cancer Sept. 11 in San Antonio, Texas. He was 85.

Some Inquirer staffers remembered him as an interesting character. "One of a kind," said Nancy Phillips, a former Inquirer reporter who is now assistant to the publisher.

She and others recall how he would spell his last name when leaving phone messages: " 'That's "F" as in Frank,' he would say, "rush" as in a hurry.' "

"He was the best," said former Inquirer photographer Dave Jackson.

John Hilferty, a retired Inquirer reporter who worked with Charlie, described him as a "big, affable guy who got along with everyone in the newsroom. Sometimes a big kid, he loved chocolate candy. The day he retired, we deluged him with boxes of chocolate."

After Charlie moved to the Inquirer's New Jersey bureau, one of his stories was about the Thomas Edison National Historic Site, in West Orange. He wrote that the tour guides "deliver the facts with the kind of flair associated with someone pitching blarney."

Not many reporters would pitch that kind of blarney while doing a feature on a museum. But that was Charlie's style.

Among his honors was the award for best sports story of 1967 from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publishers Association (now the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association) for his report on a Penn State football victory over Syracuse.

Charlie also worked as an editor for the sports and features desks, and spent his final years in the business in the South Jersey office. He retired in 1993.

He continued to write freelance articles, including coverage of his favorite recreation, golf, for Sports Illustrated, True and Reader's Digest.

He and his wife, the former Marilyn Loretta Benken, lived for a time in Folcroft, Delaware County, then bought and restored an 18th-century home on the Delaware River in Delanco, Burlington County.

After selling the property, the family lived in Palm City, Fla., before moving to San Antonio.

Charlie was born in Newark, Ohio, and graduated from Ohio State University. He worked for the Ohio State Journal in Columbus and the Columbus Evening Dispatch before coming to Philadelphia.

His wife said she met Charlie when she was tricked into a double date. "I was dating someone my classmates didn't like," she recalled. "They told me they were going to a movie, and got me to go. And there was Charlie. That's how I met him."

Marilyn, a nurse, worked at Albert Einstein Medical Center and at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Charlie spent two years on active duty with the Army at the end of World War II.

Wherever the Frushes lived, they made sure to join a country club. They both enjoyed golf. Charlie also was a motorcycle enthusiast.

In retirement, he liked to work in wood, turning out lamps and other items on a lathe in his workshop.

"Charlie was a Buckeye fan until he died," Marilyn said. "In his last day, we propped him up in his bed and turned on an Ohio State game."

Besides his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Victoria Marshall; two sons, Charles Jr. and Kenneth; seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Services: Were Sept. 14 in San Antonio.


Contact John F. Morrison at morrisj@phillynews.com or 215-854-5573.

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