Bob Oates, member of original Hall of Fame selection panel, dies

LOS ANGELES -- Bob Oates, a sportswriter who covered 39 consecutive Super Bowls and was the last surviving member of the original Pro Football Hall of Fame selection panel, died Monday at age 93.

Oates died from age-related causes at his home in suburban Baldwin Hills, his son, Bob Jr., told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Oates covered the first Super Bowl at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 1967 and covered every other one through 2005. He missed the 2006 game to stay with his wife, Marnie, who had suffered a fall a few months earlier. She died in February 2006.

Oates never attended another Super Bowl.

Oates was one of the original voters who in 1962 chose the first Hall of Fame inductees.

Born Robert Maclay Oates in Aberdeen, S.D., he came to California in 1937 and earned a master's degree in journalism from UCLA. He was a sports writer for the Los Angeles Examiner, which later became the Herald-Examiner, before joining the Los Angeles Times in 1968.

"He loved the business, and he was the kind of writer who was fascinated by game strategy," Times columnist Bill Dwyre said. "He was part sportswriter and part coach."

Oates retired in 1995 but continued to write freelance football columns for the Times until 2007.

In addition to his son, Oates is survived by two brothers and two grandchildren.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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