- The Washington Times - Friday, March 7, 2003

DECATUR, Ga., March 7 (UPI) — Rounelle Martin, for years the backbone of the United Press International bureau in Atlanta, died Sunday of complications from anemia. She was 79.

As managers came and went, Martin provided the continuity for the bureau, the hub of the southeast division, providing encouragement and advice and smoothing the paths of reporters and photographers as they came and went.

During the Vietnam War, Martin helped break the devastating news to the wife of reporter Frank Frosch that he, along with Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Kyoichi Sawada, had been captured and killed in Cambodia. Lewis Lord of Falls Church, Va., then head of UPI's news operations in Atlanta, asked her to accompany him.

"Rounelle, bless her heart, took over," said Lord, now retired from U.S. News & World Report. "She seemed to know what to say and when and how to say it and when to be with the wife and when not to. Rounelle stayed through the night."

In another instance, without asking a single question, she rousted herself in the middle of the night to pay a fine for the child of someone she had worked with 20 years before.

Lord, in a message to fellow Unipressers said, "The Southern Division — nearly 100 of us back in the '60s — was Rounelle's family. In my four AJ (Atlanta) years, she gave me several deserved come-uppances. But what I remember most are the many moments of humor, kindness, and support. I can't think of anyone in the bureau I relied on more for advice, be it the UPI, the upbringing of my kids, or what to buy at Rich's department store."

Stan Darden, who also came under her wing, said, "She was a great lady, full of integrity, intelligence and human caring."

Funeral services were held Thursday. She is survived by numerous nieces and nephews.

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