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Obituary: Tony Licata

Tony Licata, a long-time correspondent and commodities editor for Reuters Chicago bureau, died in March after more than a year's struggle with cancer. He was 84.

His 20-year Reuters career spanned from the 1970s to the 1990s and included a spell on the London desk, which left him with abiding memories.

Following Reuters, he taught journalism at Northwestern University, for a time overseeing its urban journalism newsroom in Chicago. He also worked for the prestigious MacArthur Foundation, where he eventually managed $900 million of its bond portfolio. 

In retirement, he became an avid biker and health blogger. His blog, Wellness Secrets of a Super Ager, had more than 2.2 million views since beginning in 2013, with more than 4,000 regular subscribers. A dedicated journalist to the end, he detailed his cancer struggles in a series of blog posts, hoping to help readers dealing with similar afflictions.

He loved backgammon, often playing 40 games online simultaneously. His interest in the game grew during his time in London when he often played in clubs there. He also played video poker regularly at Chicago’s various casinos and on regular trips to Las Vegas, where he stayed in the Golden Nugget in downtown, original Las Vegas, just the sort of spot that suited his old school style.

Another love he picked up in London was for the Mini Cooper automobile. When the updated model emerged in the U.S. in 2002, he became an avid owner, trading in his model for a newer one every two to three years. When his cancer made it impossible to drive any longer, he sold his last Mini. A Reuters colleague sent him a British-built Scalextric 1/32 model car to admire and remind him of happier times. 

A native Chicagoan who grew up on what was then the Italian American West Side of the Windy City, he eventually lived in one of its well-known lake shore condominiums, often relaxing in the evening with a favourite cigar on the building’s terrace overlooking Lake Michigan. 

Twice married and twice divorced, he is survived by his three adult children.

John Frank was a financial correspondent for Reuters in Chicago in 1983-4.  After leaving the agency his jobs including working for BusinessWeek and Knight Ridder. He would welcome recollections about Tony Licata to his email ■