Community honors late Cal State LA alumnus, Henry “Hank” Fuhrmann


Henry Fuhrmann. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.

Late last month, family, friends, colleagues and students honored the late Cal State LA alumnus and staff member, Henry Fuhrmann, in a service at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. Those who spoke at the celebration of life expressed their immense love and admiration for him.

Next to the entrance of the Golden State Ballroom, where the service was held, was a table that displayed Fuhrmann’s various awards of recognition and degrees.

Fuhrmann received his B.A. in Journalism from Cal State LA in 1983.

Over 200 people were in attendance.

Fuhrmann, who was affectionately referred to as “Hank” by many attendees, was described as a gentle soul, articulate and a lifelong learner. Fuhrmann was a journalist, mentor, father, friend and companion. He spent 25 years of his career at the L.A. TImes  and came back to Cal State LA as a staff member in the communications office after retirement.

Before studying at Cal State LA, Fuhrmann majored in engineering at CalTech.

Fuhrmann met his ex-wife and mother of his children, Ruthanne Salido, while attending Cal State LA. Salido was the University Times’ (UT)  first Latina editor-in-chief. Fuhrmann created the UT’s first style guide book, which was in use for more than a decade. They were both transfer students.

Salido and Fuhrmann met while working on the paper and studying journalism together. The two initially met in an editing class, but grew close while working on a group project in a “Social Responsibility of the Press” class, Salido recalls.

“He was very attentive in class,” said Salido. “He was a good student.”

In 1981, there was a shooting on Cal State LA’s campus. Fuhrmann took the lead on reporting the tragedy and organized how the report was done, according to Salido.

“He always remembered the human part,” said Salido. “He was so calm under pressure and always articulate.”

Together, Salido and Fuhrmann had two daughters, Elena and Angela Fuhrmann.

Fuhrmann’s stepson, Grant Arthur, was very excited for him to join the family and marry his mom. Arthur described his first interaction with Fuhrmann, where he attempted to humiliate his mom with naughty jokes. According to Arthur, he was unphased and immediately fit in with the family.

“Hank was someone who never found fault in others,” Arthur said. “He never tried being the biggest man in the room.”

Friends and former colleagues of Fuhrmann characterized him as a good man, who was also incredibly knowledgeable.

Former L.A.Times colleague and friend Melissa McCoy, described him as a “calming force.”

“He sang the praises of other people,” McCoy said. “He never stopped learning. He had a wickedly dry sense of humor.”

Fuhrmann’s friend and colleague, Russ Stanton, explained the journalist had “unimpeachable integrity.” Stanton and Fuhrmann spent 14 years working at the L.A. Times together.

Fuhrmann participated in the L.A. Times Minority Editorial Training Program (MetPro), class of 1989-1990. He was the first graduate of the program to be promoted to the level of department head at the L.A. Times, according to Fuhrmann’s twitter.

“He wanted to ensure the newsroom is reflective of the community it’s supposed to serve,” said Rubaina Azhar, former MetPro journalist. “Henry would help anyone who asked. He encouraged you to simply learn from your mistakes and move on.”

Fuhrmann was also co-president of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) Los Angeles chapter three times, according to the AAJA website. He made an effort to ensure Asian communities were properly represented in journalism.

“He never bragged about anything,” said David Ono, an ABC7 anchor and AAJA-LA advisory board member.