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R.I.P Bruce Frassinelli

On Wednesday, Sept. 6, around 3 p.m. I got a call from a reporter in Pennsylvania. “I wonder if you can provide a photo of Bruce Frassinelli. We’re publishing his obit and we’re trying to get a recent photo of him.”

And just like that I learned that long-time Oswego County Business writer Bruce Frassinelli had died.

I’m still in shock — and saddened. I was in touch with Bruce just three days before when we exchanged a series of emails, which we normally did.

Bruce has written for Oswego County Business for over 20 years.

I recall getting very excited to get him on board. It was like a major coup, so to speak. He was one of the best writers around and a few years earlier had finished a very successful tenure as publisher of the Oswego Palladium-Times. He was very well connected, served on the boards of several organizations and was a past governor of the Rotary Club.

The magazine was about 10 years old at that point and having someone of the caliber of Bruce meant a great deal. His first column debuted with the April-May 2003 edition.

Indeed, Bruce made a huge difference.

He wrote several cover stories for the magazine. Profiles of former U.S. Ambassador Doug Barclay and of then-publisher of the Oswego County Weeklies Mark Backus come to mind.

He maintained his column every issue. He discussed the media, politics, culture, workplace and a number of other issues.

His columns were always interesting, insightful, well-written, sharp and sometimes controversial. In one recent column he discussed how Fox News had contributed to a wave of disinformation about the 2020  presidential elections. Great, objective column. Some readers didn’t like it. We got reaction from a dozen  readers — some even canceled their subscription to this magazine because they said they were fans of Fox News and how dare you say bad things about the station.

Readers can get a good sample of Bruce’s writing in this issue. We’re publishing his last two columns.

He was not much a fan of how the tipping system works in the U.S. and he discusses the merits of tipping those who wait tables. Very interesting stuff. He is also writing about politics: If Joe Biden is the 46th president, how many men have served in that position?

Bruce also maintained a column in 55 PLUS, a separate magazine we publish. His columns were more personal  — on aging, raising children, discipline, exercise, health — and very often drew many comments from readers. He was always excited to share those comments and I always appreciated reading them.

In a recent column that celebrated the 30th year of Oswego County Business, Bruce explained his philosophy:

“I have tried to enlighten readers on the challenges journalists have in crafting a readable and interesting story. The ability to synthesize thousands of words — sometimes screamed or spewed in emotional torrents — into a coherent report is an art form requiring skill, patience and talent. That is precisely what is expected of journalists each time they report and write.’’

Needless to say, over the years, he became a good friend, a mentor, someone always willing to listen and to offer advice.

Very sad to see him go. We will miss him. Rest in peace, my friend.

Wagner Dotto is the editor and publisher of Oswego County Business Magazine.