National Catholic Reporter
The Independent Newsweekly
Issue Date:  February 13, 2004

Terry F. Brock
Former NCR editor dies at 71


Terry F. Brock, a former editor of the National Catholic Reporter who launched the company’s educational division in the early 1970s, died Jan. 28 in Kansas City, Mo., at the age of 71.

Before coming to NCR in 1970, Brock served for three years as editor and general manager of the weekly diocesan Pittsburgh Catholic newspaper. Art Winter, founding editor of Praying magazine who worked with Brock at NCR, recalled speaking to Brock for the first time by phone in the midst of a local scandal: Police had arrested a Pittsburgh priest and found hundreds of pornographic pictures, many of children, in his possession.

“In those days, a diocesan editor had two precedents for a situation like this: run some kind of denial and strike back with an attack, or duck the story,” Winter said. “Terry decided he couldn’t do either. Instead, he ran a straightforward account on Page One. Further, he did it in such a way that the powers-that-be understood why running the story beat denial and cover-up.”

Recent coverage of the church’s sex abuse scandals confirms “not only the rightness but the wisdom of Terry’s decision,” Winter said.

Brock was born in Milwaukee July 24, 1932. He graduated from John Carroll University in Cleveland in 1954. Before his tenure at the Pittsburgh Catholic, he worked for the weekly Ave Maria magazine at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., and at the Thomas More Association in Chicago.

He was named managing editor of NCR in 1970, and later executive editor. Three years later he was asked to head a new educational division of the NCR Publishing Company, producing audio-visual materials and other publications. His work included acting as coordinator for Celebration, the leading worship resource that is still published by the NCR Publishing Company.

After leaving NCR, Brock and his wife, Mary Breig Brock, acquired the Northeast News, a Kansas City weekly newspaper. They expanded the newspaper, forming Northeast Publishing Inc., and founded a typesetting and graphic design business, Northeast Typography.

Winter said Mary and Terry’s partnership “reminded me of my parents who, as Iowa farmers, worked hand-in-hand from sun up till sun down.” Mary Brock died in 1995; her husband sold the business and retired in 1998. They are survived by their five children and two grandchildren.

Recalling Brock’s contributions to the NCR Publishing Company, Winter said, “I owe Terry thanks, because I spent 20 years in Terry’s department and spin-offs from it, making a living doing work I enjoyed. I think others remain in his debt too, not only NCR staffers, past and present, but also the paper’s readers and, ultimately, the church as a whole.”

National Catholic Reporter, February 13, 2004

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