Ernie Makovy, a Star-Telegram editor known for his mastery of
the fast-breaking news story, collapsed and died Sunday while working in the
yard at his Arlington home.
The cause of death was not immediately known.
Mr. Makovy, 55, had worked at the Dallas Times Herald for 18 years and at
the Star-Telegram since 1989.
Present and past colleagues reacted with shock and sadness. They recalled
Mr. Makovy's coolheaded, hard-driving approach to directing reporters in
covering of major breaking news stories. The deputy metro editor in the Fort
Worth newsroom, Mr. Makovy was also a skilled rewrite man, taking information
from a number of reporters in the field and crafting it into a readable article.
"Ernie was a pleasure to work with and a tremendous human being," Star-Telegram
Executive Editor Jim Witt said. "He and I worked very closely together when
Ernie joined the Star-Telegram as city editor for the afternoon edition back in
the late '80s. I can say with confidence that there is no other editor quite
like him at the paper -- his enthusiasm, positive energy and ability to punch up
a police story with colorful, descriptive language made him an irreplaceable
asset. We're all very saddened by this."
Mr. Makovy's skills were instrumental in behind-the-scenes work at the
Star-Telegram during coverage of such events as the Oklahoma City bombing, the
Tarrant County Courthouse shootings and the space shuttle Columbia disaster.
"He was one of the best hard-news guys I ever worked with and also one of
the best rewrite guys," said Gary Hardee, who is publisher of the Arlington
edition of the Star-Telegram and also worked with Mr. Makovy at the Times
Herald. "When the fur was flying, he was calm."
Mr. Makovy grew up in West and worked as a reporter at the Waco
News-Tribune while attending Baylor University. After graduating in 1971, he
worked as a reporter and later editor and rewrite man at the Times Herald.
David McHam, a University of Houston journalism professor, taught Mr.
Makovy at Baylor and worked with him at the Waco and Dallas papers.
"He was the best young reporter I ever knew. ... He would literally run
out of the newsroom on a breaking story, he was so eager," McHam said.
"He was the last great rewrite man in Dallas-Fort Worth."
His son, Brad Makovy, said family, journalism and sports were most
important to his father.
"He and I made it a point to go to a lot of Rangers games and Baylor
games," he said.
"He loved spending time with his grandkids," Brad Makovy said.
Mr. Makovy's journalistic interest in crime seemed to overlap with his TV
habits, Brad Makovy said. "He watched CSI, Law & Order: SVU; he watched all
Patricia Makovy said her husband was as dedicated to his family as to his
"I was always so proud of him. He loved his job; he lived for his job,
but he loved me and the kids with just as much passion," she said.
Reporters who worked for Mr. Makovy said he was enthusiastic about his
job and cared greatly about his co-workers.
"In his signature boots and Wrangler jeans, Ernie looked more like a
rancher than a journalist," said police reporter Deanna Boyd. "But behind his
computer screen, he could turn cold facts into a great story."
Roy Bode, editor of the Times Herald when it folded in 1991, said Mr.
Makovy learned journalism when newspapers had multiple editions and writing was
done on the fly.
"There are fewer and fewer people like Ernie," Bode said.
Mr. Makovy was also fun to be around and was known for direct and
uninhibited self-expression, said Mike Cochran, a former Star-Telegram and
Associated Press reporter.
"Political correctness and pretension were not among his shortcomings,"
Cochran said. "And he was always quick to hoist a cool one with you."
Services for Mr. Makovy are pending. He is survived by his wife, son,
daughter Jamie Denton, grandchildren Micayla and Alexis Denton and son-in-law