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Longboat Key Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009 8 years ago

Obituary: Bob Twigg

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

Bob Twigg, 62, of Longboat Key and Leesburg, Va., died Nov. 16.

Born Dec. 8, 1946, in Cumberland, Md., he began his career as a journalist as a college student working for the “Cumberland Times.”

He graduated from Frostburg State University, in Frostburg, Md., and later moved on to a newspaper in Hagerstown, Md., where he became sports editor.

Twigg covered the Baltimore Orioles in the team’s glory days and had his favorite new sports jacket ruined from champagne spray in the locker room when the team won the pennant.

In 1983, Gannett Co. Inc. brought Twigg to Washington, D.C., to work for a newspaper the company was starting. That paper was USA Today.

Twigg spent 16 years at USA Today, serving as Washington/White House editor, national editor and senior reporter. He covered the Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations, traveled to the Malta Summit with George H. W. Bush, and spent time with George and Barbara Bush at their home in Maine during a summer break from Washington, D.C. He also worked extensively on coverage of the first Gulf War, including a book Gannett published about the war.

In 1994, Twigg took over the paper’s West Coast desk, thinking it would be a change of pace. But one week later, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were murdered in Los Angeles. For the duration of the O.J. Simpson trial, he split his time between Virginia and California. Paper-rack sales skyrocketed every day the Simpson story was on the cover. The day the jury for the Simpson trial was seated, he told his wife, B.J. Webb, that Simpson would be acquitted.

After Simpson was acquitted, Twigg got back to reporting and covered major news events throughout the country. Webb often joked that if a plane came out of the sky, a hurricane was forming or a state was burning out of control, Bob would be packing his bags.

In 1997, Twigg retired from USA Today to spend more time with family, but in 1998, he came out of retirement to become publisher of Senior News in Loudoun County, where he stayed until 2002. He became editor of the Loudoun Times Mirror in 2005 but later stepped down to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest when his stepson, Kevin Wright, decided to run for elected office.

Twigg spent many winter months on Longboat Key and was a former managing editor of The Sarasota Observer. He completed his first novel before he was diagnosed with lung cancer in October 2008.
Twigg was an active volunteer and traveled multiple times to New Orleans to help rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. He also served on boards for various Virginia organizations and In-Stride Riding, a Sarasota therapeutic riding program.

Twigg is survived by his wife, Longboat Key Planning & Zoning Board Chairwoman and former Leesburg Mayor B.J. Webb; sons, Michael Twigg, of Los Angeles, and Russell Wright and Kevin Wright, of Leesburg; two granddaughters; four brothers and three sisters.

The family will receive guests at its home Friday, Nov. 20, in Leesburg. A memorial service and celebration of life will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, at St. James Episcopal Church, Leesburg. A celebration of life will also take place in January at the Longboat Key Public Tennis Center.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the St. James Church Columbarium Project, 14 Cornwall St. NW, Leesburg, Va., 20176, or the Helena & Katelyn Wright Education Trust at Middleburg Bank,, in Leesburg, Va.

Online condolences can be sent at

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