Media mourns newsman

Obituary: Lew Elias 1948 - 2006. Pic: Unknown. ©DD 14/11/2006.
Obituary: Lew Elias 1948 - 2006. Pic: Unknown. ©DD 14/11/2006.



From his stint as a newsreader on a pirate radio station in the Gulf of Mexico to another as a news- wire service correspondent covering some of southern Africa's greatest disasters, Lew Elias, 58, often made headlines.

The veteran journalist, who died peacefully on Sunday morning of brain cancer, travelled extensively and had his fair share of being in the middle of major news events.

After travelling the world, Elias returned to his home town of East London in 1994 to start a 12-year uninterrupted stint with the Daily Dispatch.

At work he was known for his somewhat loose interpretation of office attire - Elias never wore socks or a tie, and he sometimes sported a huge copper earring.

He spent time in Europe, the Middle East and the US, and also visited exotic destinations in Asia, where Hong Kong in particular grabbed his fancy.

His knowledge of all things culinary was vast and he knew many top wine makers personally.

But his love for food had its downside and a few years ago he suffered a major heart attack. Against the wishes of his cardiologist, Elias was soon back at work, smoking his ubiquitous Texan plains.

His gruff demeanour did not always win the hearts and minds of his colleagues. He could, at times, be impossible to work with.

But whatever run-ins he might have had faded into obscurity yesterday as colleagues remembered a man with a great passion for life, food and wine, and, above all, a love for good journalism.

A memorial service will be held for Elias at the Cambridge Crematorium at 2pm on Friday.