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HUNTINGTON — Robert C. “Bob” Gabordi, executive editor of The Herald-Dispatch from January 1995 to mid-2001, died the morning of Thursday, Oct. 21, in Florida. He was 65.

Gabordi had been in failing health for several months.

His family posted on Facebook that evening: “Per usual, Bob put family first today. He passed peacefully, while holding Donna’s hand at 8:08 this morning, and allowing his 9th grandchild to enter this world at 12:58 pm without worry for him. Both Bob and the yet-to-be-named baby likely high-fived as they passed and entered into this world. We are so grateful for both. Words can’t express how much he’ll be missed or how hard this has been.”

In an article about Gabordi’s book “The Truth,” published last year, former Herald-Dispatch Associate Editor James E. Casto wrote, “Before his recent retirement, Gabordi was a working newspaperman in big cities and small towns for more than 40 years. He arrived in Huntington in 1995 as the newly appointed executive editor of The Herald-Dispatch. He came from Marietta, Ohio, where he had been editor of the Marietta Times. At that time The Herald-Dispatch and the Times were both owned by the Gannett Co., one of the nation’s largest newspaper groups.

“The Herald-Dispatch was a good paper when Gabordi arrived. But he made it a better one. He did that by shaking things up, reaching out to the community and challenging every member of the HD team — yours truly included — to be the best they could be. …

“In 2001, Gabordi left Huntington for Asheville, North Carolina, to become editor of the Asheville Citizen-Times, where he soon became a crooked sheriff’s worst nightmare. Leaving Asheville, he spent 10 years as editor at the Tallahassee Democrat, where he helped transform a newspaper long seen as a bastion of segregationist thinking. …

“Ultimately, Gabordi became executive editor of Florida Today. There he pushed the paper into digital journalism and even produced an award-winning podcast, ‘Murder on the Space Coast,’ which drew 840,000 listens.

“In 2018, Gabordi was hauled out of his Florida Today office on a stretcher after suffering a life-threatening stroke. At the hospital, he stopped breathing at least twice. Hallucinating, he ripped out the tubes and wires attached to him. The deck was stacked against him, but he beat the odds and recovered. He then retired in 2019.”

Gabordi and his wife, Donna, had three daughters and two sons. Before moving to Marietta, he had worked for eight years at the headquarters of Gannett Co. Inc. in Arlington, Virginia. He spent four years with Gannett New Media, the company’s research and development division, and four years with Gannett News Service.

He had also worked at the Norwich Bulletin in Connecticut and the Cranston Herald in Rhode Island.

Gabordi was a graduate of Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island.

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