William Boldenweck, who was a reporter at the Examiner for more than 30 years and a part-time journalism teacher at San Francisco State for another 20 years, died Tuesday after a series of illnesses at age 79, the Chronicle reported this morning.

Boldenweck was a longtime Peninsula Press Club member and was the club’s president in 1993 and 1994.

He was a classic old-school newspaper reporter, a former Marine, tough when he needed to be, affable and very good at what he did, said Larry Hatfield, who worked with him for years at the Examiner.

“Bill Boldenweck could do anything,” Hatfield told the Chronicle. “He could cover any story, and was a very good reporter and writer, who could be lyrical if the story called for it.”

He is survived by his wife, Lynn of South San Francisco; and two sons, William C. Boldenweck III and Stephen Boldenweck, both of San Francisco. Plans for a memorial service are pending.

Bay Area Media News


  1. Early on as an SF State student in the early 1970s, I thought I wanted to be a photojournalist. Nonetheless, I was required to take a Newswriting 101 class, which for me was taught by Boldenweck.

    After I turned in a couple of pieces (the obligatory self-obit and the shooting in the classroom pieces), Boldenweck called me aside after class. "You're a pretty good writer," he said, pausing at least two beats. "For a photographer."

    I learned more in that class than I did in most and later abandoned photography for other journalism pursuits, which much later included reporting. Most of what Bill taught stuck, thank goodness.

    A handful of years later I found myself working at the Examiner and was somehow dragooned out to a Daly City event organized by the ever-resourceful bureau chief, Bill Boldenweck. Dozens (hundreds?) of people had come together for an Examiner chili cook-off, the brainchild of the aforementioned reporter.

    Marveling at the crowd, then editor and publisher Reg Murphy drawled, "Well, I guess we need to entertain the people who don't like Bay to Breakers."

    Have a bowl of red (no beans, heaven forbid) for me, Bill, wherever you are.


  2. I already knew I wanted to be a journalist when I attended SF State. Bill Boldenweck taught me how to be a good one. I'm 99% sure the "Ants, ants, ants, ants.." headline in the Ex was his — one of my all-time favorites. Loved him to pieces.

  3. Hadn't seen Bill in years, but I remember him as having a sense of humor and fairness. These showed in his stories, which reflected a feeling that life would go on. This might have had something to do with the fact that he saw some savage fighting in Korea when he was a marine. Semper Fi, Bill.
    Jim Clifford

  4. Boldy was one of the good ones, tough-talking and ethical – a member of the Chosin Few and with the frostbitten feet that went along with membership in that exclusive club.

    He chewed me out like a Marine Corps boot once for daring to criticize an older, more experienced scribbler – then bought me a drink to make up for it.

    He was a fixture. I can still hear him moving through the city room.

    Semper Fi, amigo.

  5. I didn't know Bill while either of us was a working journalist, but I met him some time after in our capacities as South City library trustees. A good man, full of stories. Great with a chili pot, too.

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