Obituaries


Barnett D. Laschever
Barnett D. Laschever, travel journalist, passionate advocate for Connecticut’s tourism industry, and long-time Connecticut resident, died on Thursday, May 22, 2014 in Simsbury, CT after a short illness.

Mr. Laschever, who in a long career wrote for the Hartford Times, Hartford Courant, New York Herald Tribune, Lakeville Journal, Torrington Register-Citizen, Detroit Free Press, United Press International, Michigan Daily, and U.S. Stars and Stripes, was also the author of several children’s books about travel for children and the co-author of Connecticut: An Explorer’s Guide. He served for many years as Director of Tourism for the State of Connecticut and was a tireless promoter of the State’s many historic sites, colonial towns, beaches, fine inns and restaurants, and leisure-time attractions. He had celebrated his 90th birthday in March.

Mr. Laschever attended Hartford’s Weaver High School, graduating in 1942, and the University of Michigan, interrupting his college career to talk his way into the US Army (despite poor eyesight) near the end of World War II. During his service in Germany, he worked as a reporter for the Stars and Stripes newspaper. After being discharged in 1947, he returned to Ann Arbor, where he completed a degree in political science in 1950. He remained in the National Guard until 1951. He met his wife, Dolores (Palanker) Laschever (another long-time Connecticut journalist and Hartford Courant columnist), working on the Michigan Daily. After graduating, he returned to Connecticut as a cub reporter for the now-defunct Hartford Times.

In 1953, Mr. Laschever took a leave of absence from the Times and, with his wife, traveled around the world, sending travel articles back to Hartford from their many stops along the way. He liked to say they traveled by every means then available—not just on planes, trains, and automobiles, but on the backs of burros, on bicycles, on foot, on rickety old buses careening through the mountains of India, and, eventually, on the steerage deck of a leaky ocean liner crossing from Hong Kong to California.

These dispatches prompted the Times to promote him to the post of Travel Editor when he returned. In 1955, he moved to New York City to become Senior Travel Editor of the New York Herald Tribune. A leading figure among a dynamic cohort of New York-based travel journalists during the years when air travel made adventurous leisure travel much more accessible to the growing American middle class, he also helped found the Society of American Travel Writers, the leading organization for travel writers and travel professionals in North America.

In 1965, Mr. Laschever moved back to Connecticut to become managing editor of the new Fodor Shell Travel Guides USA. When these guides were completed, he returned to the Hartford Times, where he served as City Editor, Travel Editor, and Sunday Editor. He also spent many years on the board of the Times Farm Camp, the predecessor to the Channel 3 Country Camp. During those years and after, he wrote thousands of popular, award-winning columns, including “The Man in the Cabbage Patch,” “Out Back with Barney,” and “The Ranting Retiree,” for the Times, the Courant, the Lakeville Journal, and the Torrington Register-Citizen.

During his 17 years as Connecticut’s Director of Tourism, beginning in the mid-1970s, he supported the work of thousands of people and businesses around the State. He granted funding to restore or expand numerous state historic sites and helped create the State’s Film Commission. He also taught journalism at the University of New Haven, Tunxis Community College, the UConn Torrington branch, and Springfield College in Springfield, MA. In the 1990s, he hosted a gardening and travel talk show on WAPJ-89.9 FM, the radio station at the Torrington branch of the University of Connecticut.

In Goshen, where he lived for 45 years, he served on the Recreation Committee and the Library Board and was a member of the Goshen Agricultural Society, the Goshen Historical Society, the Goshen Players, and the Goshen Garden Club. He was also active in Democratic politics.

Predeceased by his son Adam in 1997, he is survived by his wife of 65 years, his son Jonathan and Jonathan’s wife Kathryn, of Simsbury, CT; daughters Sara and her husband Tim Riley of Concord, MA, Ann-Rebecca and her husband Claudio Kupchik of Woodmere, NY, and Valerie Cyr of Litchfield, CT; as well as 10 grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at 1:00 PM on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 in the Sanctuary of Beth El Synagogue, 124 Litchfield Street, Torrington, CT. Burial will follow in the Goshen Center Cemetery, Goshen, CT. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations to the Goshen Land Trust, The Jewish National Fund or to the Melanoma Research Foundation. Arrangements are entrusted to Weinstein Mortuary, Hartford. For further information and to sign the guest book for Barnett, please visit online at www.weinsteinmortuary.com/funerals.cfm.



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