Gary H. Deckelnick, who spent 41 years covering the New Jersey Shore as a reporter and editor at the Asbury Park Press of Neptune, has died. He was 63.
Deckelnick, who died Friday, covered many of the region’s biggest stories during his tenure and was known for holding public officials accountable.
“Gary was an excellent reporter, editor and teacher of younger journalists,” said William C. “Skip” Hidlay, the newspaper’s executive editor.
Among the stories Deckelnick helped cover was the crash of two Navy Blue Angels flying over Lakehurst in 1973. He also interviewed Buzz Aldrin’s father in Brielle as the astronaut walked on the moon in 1969.
In the 1970s, Deckelnick and Gary Schoening, now the newspaper’s managing editor, revealed that the mayor of Manchester had a financial relationship with a major real estate developer in the community. Their work was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.
Deckelnick, though, also enjoyed writing about lighter topics. For instance, he wrote a column for a time about the world of CB radio and once did a story on the taste of canned dog food.
Despite his long hours at the newspaper, Deckelnick always found time to coach his children’s soccer, basketball and baseball teams, said daughter Kathy Lathrop.
Deckelnick is survived by his wife, Ellen; three grown children and their spouses, and six grandchildren.