Abe Chanin, former AJP publisher, Star sports editor, dies

obit abe chaninAbe Chanin, a former publisher of the Arizona Jewish Post, longtime Arizona Daily Star sports editor, University of Arizona professor, author and historian, died Feb. 1 in Albuquer­que, N.M. He was 92.

Mr. Chanin co-published the Arizona Post, as it was then known, with his wife, Mildred, from 1956 to 1965, when they sold the newspaper to the Tucson Jewish Community Council, forerunner of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona.

He was a sports reporter and editor at the Star from 1940 until 1976. His 1979 book, “They Fought Like Wildcats,” is considered an unparalleled history of UA sports.

“Having the Arizona Post was a way of rounding out his life,” his daughter, Beth Rudolph, told the AJP. “He came from a family that was religious, particularly in a cultural sense. While he loved the sports, it didn’t give him an opportunity to explore his Jewishness. The Post did that.”

The newspaper “also provided an opportunity for him and my mother to work together,” says Rudolph, who recalls that her mother, a speech pathologist and Jewish educator, took care of the administrative side of things while her father was at work at the Star.

That collaboration led them to also work on books together, including “Cholent & Chorizo: Great Adventures of Pioneer Jews on the Arizona Frontier” and “This Land, These Voices.” Even when her mother was not listed as an author, she proofread everything, says Rudolph, who notes that when her father was semi-retired, her parents also started leading educational tours around the world.

Mr. Chanin taught journalism at the UA from 1976 to 1988 and the UA’s award for best student sportswriting is named for him. He was director of the Bloom Southwest Jewish Archives at the UA from 1988 to 1994.

“He was a very intellectual person and he had a heart of gold,” says Phyllis Broad, a longtime educator at Congregation Anshei Israel, where Abe Chanin’s father, Isadore, was one of the founding members.

Broad and her husband, Merrill, were neighbors of the Chanins and she and Mrs. Chanin taught together at Anshei Israel. The couples became close friends and celebrated many holidays together. Broad also has fond memories of Mr. Chanin as a mentor to her daughter, Judy, when she was studying journalism at the UA — including a trip to Israel for journalism students that Mr. Chanin and his wife led.

A graduate of Tucson High School and the UA, Mr. Chanin served in the U.S. Army during World War II. In 1947, he helped found the Arizona Daily Star Sportsmen’s Fund, which has since paid to send more than 35,000 children to camp. He also published the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper with his wife until 1970. He was named to the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame and the Daily Wildcat Hall of Fame.

Mr. Chanin and his wife moved to New Mexico 10 years ago to be near their daughter and her family. Mrs. Chanin died in 2012 after 67 years of marriage. Mr. Chanin is survived by his daughter, Beth (Dr. Lance) Rudolph and one grandson. Services and interment were held at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.