EDITORIAL: Longtime journalist Frosty Troy was an Oklahoma original (Enid News & Eagle)

By Enid News & Eagle Editorial Board

Gov. Mary Fallin issued a poignant statement Thursday on the passing of a true Oklahoma original.

Although she is a Republican, Gov. Fallin acknowledged the death of a man considered a liberal, yellow dog Democrat.

Frosty Troy was a diligent journalist with decades of experience reporting on our state’s elected officials.

The Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame inductee covered the state Legislature for a half-century, which included the administrations of 10 governors.

Troy, who died Thursday at age 83 after an extended illness, influenced generations of budding journalists.

He would often talk about holding public officials accountable and stressed treating them fairly but at arm’s length.

KOSU reporter Michael Cross told NonDoc that Troy was nonpartisan when dispensing praise and criticism.

“That goes back to the old school of journalism,” Cross told the media website. “I think, right now, there’s too much of a fear that you can’t hold the politicians to task because for some reason they’re above everybody else. Frosty was never that way. He was a strong believer in the First Amendment and the power of the press to hold all elected officials accountable for their words and their actions.”

Troy published the Observer for decades before the digital age and the advent of social media.

An Observer obituary described its founding editor as a “diminutive firebrand.”

The Korean War veteran wrote for the McAlester News Capital, The Lawton Constitution, the Muskogee Phoenix and the now-defunct Tulsa Tribune.

Troy was best known for his staunch support of public education.

“Every autumn the most beautiful thing happens in America,” Troy once wrote. “The school doors open and there’s a teacher in front saying, ‘Come on in. We don’t care who you are or what side of town you came from or who your mommy and daddy are. You do your best and we’ll do our best.’”

The monthly Observer began publishing Oct. 17, 1969, with Frosty and Helen Troy at the helm for nearly four decades.

In 2016, veteran journalist Arnold Hamilton and his wife Beverly bought the award-winning publication. Troy’s last Observer column was printed in 2013.

“Nationally, he was revered for his Okie eloquence — one of the state’s most sought-after public speakers since Will Rogers, booked by diverse groups ranging from educators and social workers to union laborers and Chambers of Commerce,” according to the Observer.

David Blatt, director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute think tank, described Frosty as a “a fierce advocate for ordinary Oklahomans and a tireless (if often blustery) denouncer of political hypocrisy and corporate irresponsibility.”

Robin Maxey, communications director of the president’s office at the Oregon state Senate, said Troy was remarkably upbeat for an Oklahoma progressive.

“It was Frosty who would signal to the governor and all of us that a press conference was over by simply saying ‘thank you, governor,’ on behalf of the press corps,” wrote Maxey, a former Capitol Bureau reporter for this publication.

“You were an Oklahoma original and will remain an icon in my eyes.”

R.I.P., Frosty.


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