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Anne Goldman, former Times features editor

By CRAIG BASSE, Times Obituaries Editor

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 6, 2003

ST. PETERSBURG -- When Elvis Presley came to town in August 1956, he drove the cops nuts, caused teenage girls to faint and nuzzled Anne Goldman's ear.

Mrs. Goldman was then Anne Rowe, a young reporter for the St. Petersburg Times. She interviewed Presley in advance of his local appearance and reported to her readers that he "seemed to us like a real regular guy."

Although she went on to play a major role as an editor and pioneer at the Times, she maintained fond memories of the Presley visit. For years, a giant photo of her and the singer had a prominent spot on the wall of her home.

Mrs. Goldman died on Wednesday after a long battle with leukemia. She was 66.

She was born in Elizabeth, N.J., but moved to St. Petersburg early in life, and attended local grammar schools and St. Petersburg High School.

At 17, three days after her high school graduation, she began working in the Times library. In a fast-moving career, she climbed from copy services to women's editor of the Times and its sister publication, the St. Petersburg Evening Independent, within a dozen years.

In 1966, she was promoted to Times newsfeatures editor, becoming the first woman in the newspaper's history to lead a department that included as many men as women.

Three years later, the features section underwent a dramatic change in format designed to make it as appealing to men as it was to women. Mrs. Goldman was in charge of a staff of 22 editors and writers, plus copy desks and specialists in religion, fashion, food, music, drama and art.

The work of Mrs. Goldman and her staff drew national attention. She conducted seminars for other journalists and in 1972 she served on a Pulitzer Prize jury.

"Anne was a very special person," said Donald K. Baldwin, a former Times editor and president. "Of all the journalists I've worked with over the years, she was among the very best. She was a gifted writer, but her creative imagination and talent for organizing and bringing to completion any project she undertook really set her apart.

"The Times is a better newspaper today because of Anne's contributions more than 30 years ago," said Baldwin.

In 1978, Mrs. Goldman was named assistant to Eugene Patterson, then editor and president of the Times, and began working with readers of the newspaper.

The job was "one of the most varied, interesting, fascinating things I've ever done," she said after landing the new post.

Her Hotline column drew some steady callers, "helpful, very nice people who have an affinity for the paper," she said. "None of them is particularly irritable or grumpy."

But it was difficult to predict how readers would react to the news, she said. "Some of the things you think will bring response don't, and some of the things you think won't bring any response get a lot of it. Readers are unpredictable," she said.

After a year and a half in that job, she and her husband, architect Sanford Goldman, and their three children moved to Hernando County to start a new life in a four-bedroom mobile home on a 12-acre tract.

Her husband later built a home for the family in Hernando. They returned to St. Petersburg about two years ago.

Survivors include her husband of 36 years, Sanford; two daughters, Shane Goldman and Summer Vecchioli, both of St. Petersburg; a son, Edward Goldman of Manassas, Va., and a grandson, Jace Goldman of Manassas.

A funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Temple Beth-El, 400 Pasadena Ave. S, St. Petersburg. David C. Gross Funeral Home of St. Petersburg is in charge of arrangements. The family suggests contributions to Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, 300 East Bay Drive, Largo, FL 33770 or the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, 12902 Magnolia Drive, Tampa, FL 33612.

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