Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Lyneis: Journal Reporter Lyneis Had a Career of Scoops
Journal Staff Report
Dick Lyneis, a retired investigative reporter for the Albuquerque Journal, died Monday at home in Rio Rancho.
The prize-winning journalist, an avid Green Bay Packer fan, was 75.
Lyneis was a hard-nosed, ground-game newsman who interviewed five U.S. presidents from John F. Kennedy to Jimmy Carter over his 40-year career.
Colleagues said Lyneis was a "reporter's reporter," with the right mix of cynicism and righteous indignation.
He covered César Chávez and the United Farm Workers' in the 1960s, joined the Investigative Reporters and Editors probe of organized crime in the 1970s after the murder of an Arizona Republic reporter, and forced a cleanup of illegal drugs in New Mexico horse racing in the 1980s.
For the racing project, the newspaper purchased a horse, hired a jockey and set up a racing operation "on the back side" of the track where illegal drugs were being administered.
"You can't do that kind of project without someone of Dick's caliber," said Journal editor Kent Walz. "He was a real pro."
In the 1990s, Lyneis' discovery of the then-Albuquerque Public Schools police chief with his female assistant in an East Mountain cabin during a workday prompted audits, inquiries and a retirement.
A native of Fon du Lac, Wis., Lyneis worked at the Appleton Post Crescent and at the Riverside Press-Enterprise in California before joining the Journal in 1986.
He was the winner of a Ford Foundation fellowship to study economics at Stanford University.
Lyneis suffered from a bone disease that often left him in pain. But as a reporter he sent many running for cover.
"He was this old-school, hard-nosed, gravely voiced, four pack a day, 'I don't care if my cholesterol is 500, I want another Brat' kind of reporter who was so hard-nosed and so dedicated to the job that God help if you're doing something wrong, he's going to find out," said former Journal columnist and writer Jim Belshaw.
Journal investigative reporter Mike Gallagher said Lyneis was "an expert at the confrontational interview. He never backed down until he got his questions answered."
As a reporter in California in 1980, Lyneis scored a journalistic coup by reporting the secret location of Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard at a desert resort east of Los Angeles.
Lyneis retired from the Albuquerque Journal in 1995.
Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Mary Kay; daughters, Susan Lyneis Sirias and Lynn E. Pedroza, both of California; and four grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his son, Paul, who died of cancer in 1995.
Services are pending.