Former newspaper publisher dies

Frank Ducceschi oversaw change to morning delivery

Frank Ducceschi in 2018. (Family photo)

Frank Ducceschi, longtime editor and publisher of the Peninsula Daily News who had major impacts on the newspaper and the North Olympic Peninsula, died last Friday. He was 77. 

Ducceschi died at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle from kidney and cardiac complications. His health had been in decline in recent months.

“He was vitally interested in the welfare of the North Olympic Peninsula and its residents and involved the newspaper and himself in numerous ways to help make local life better,” said John Brewer, who succeeded Ducceschi as publisher from 1998 to 2015.

“In his 25 years at the newspaper, Frank significantly increased local news coverage, including the creation of an ‘all local’ news front page; expanded the newspaper’s coverage area to include all of Clallam and Jefferson counties and dramatically increased the newspaper’s public service endeavors,” Brewer said.

“A big, very personable guy, a principled, decisive newsman, one of his bywords was accessibility. Frank was always accessible to people — readers, advertisers, employees — about their concerns and ideas.”

Ducceschi started as managing editor in 1973 when he was 29. He was soon promoted to the chief newsroom job of executive editor and, in 1981, he became publisher, the newspaper’s CEO position. After 17 years as publisher, he retired in 1998.

When Ducceschi began, the newspaper was known as The Daily News, its name since 1972. It was founded as the Port Angeles Evening News in 1916.

It was renamed the Peninsula Daily News in 1987. Shortly thereafter, the new PDN joined many other afternoon newspapers nationwide that had changed their delivery to mornings in the wake of the rise of TV news and changing work patterns.

Ducceschi accompanied the change with a redesigned, modern look to the newspaper, added new local columnists and a new computer system; boosted news coverage in Forks/West End and Port Townsend areas and added space for more readers’ letters.

Building on the newspaper’s long history of raising money for the less fortunate, Ducceschi partnered with Olympic Community Action Programs in 1989 to create the Peninsula Home Fund. PDN readers contributed $300,932 to the “hand up, not a handout” Home Fund in 2020.

Through newspaper sponsorships, Ducceschi also played a key role in the start-up of the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts, the establishment of the Clallam County Community Service Awards, the creation of the city Resolve to Recycle program, the revival of Tidepools, the literary magazine at Peninsula College, and he encouraged youth reading with the “Begin with Books” program.

He also worked with the Clallam County Economic Development Council, Clallam County Historical Society, Clallam County United Way and the Port Angeles Symphony.

He served on the Peninsula College Board of Trustees for seven years. He also served as statewide president of the Washington Associated Press News Executives.

He oversaw coverage of many major local news stories. They included the 1976-1983 Northern Tier oil port controversy, the collapse of the Hood Canal Bridge in 1979; the Boldt fishing decision and its impacts; the arrest in Port Angeles of Russian spy Christopher Boyce in 1981; the massive Port Angeles Harbor oil spill in 1985; and the spotted owl “timber wars” of the 1990s.

Ducceschi was born in Gary, Ind., and was a 1967 graduate of Arizona State University. He began his career as editor of a weekly paper in Sheridan, Ore. He worked at the Grants Pass., Ore., Daily Courier and the Nixon Newspapers in Wabash., Ind., before coming to Port Angeles.

After his retirement, he worked for several years with his daughter Erin and son-in-law Michael Cyger as the editor of an Internet website based around the business improvement program Six Sigma and its techniques and tools. It had an online readership of more than 600,000. There was also a spinoff print magazine with 14,000 subscribers.

Ducceschi is survived by his wife, Joan, his college sweetheart who he married in 1966. They lived in a condo overlooking Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island and enjoyed traveling. Ducceschi served on the condo association’s board for many years.

He is also survived by his daughter Erin Cyger of Bainbridge Island; daughter Laurel Daniel of Bainbridge Island and Queenstown, New Zealand; nephew Keith Curtis of Port Angeles and five grandchildren.

Services are pending.

More in News

Clallam County seeking volunteers for boards, commissions

Clallam County is seeking volunteers to fill 74 vacancies… Continue reading

A home is left gutted by fire after an early-morning blaze said to have been accidental and likely caused by discarded fireworks that smoldered and spread. (Clallam 2 Fire Rescue)
Lake Sutherland blaze leaves family homeless

Firefighters say combustion may be from fireworks

A doe and its fawn make tracks on the beach Tyler Street Plaza in Port Townsend. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Checking out the beach

A doe and its fawn make tracks on the beach Tyler Street… Continue reading

The Port of Port Townsend has installed a no fireworks sign by the entrance to the Gardiner boat launch ramp to discourage illegal fireworks use that has been an ongoing problem, residents say, along with illegal camping and overnight parking in the lot across the road. (Paula Hunt/Peninsula Daily News)
Gardiner no-shoot area is denied

Stakeholders pursue different solutions

Avian flu case reported in Jefferson County

State highest in nation for infected backyard flocks of birds, poultry

Port Angeles Parks and Recreation Department worker Richard Foster picks up spent fireworks on Tuesday at Sail and Paddle Park on Ediz Hook. Despite a city-wide ban on fireworks on Port Angeles, many people purchased the devices in Clallam County and nearby Native American reservations and brought them into town for Independence Day celebrations. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Fireworks cleanup

Port Angeles Parks and Recreation Department worker Richard Foster picks up spent… Continue reading

A hallway at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s Healing Clinic at 526 S. Ninth Ave. leads to several meeting rooms, where patients with opioid-use disorder (OUD) treatment receive counseling. The facility officially opens today. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Healing clinic opens in Sequim

First day to see patients is today

After a three-year hiatus, the popular Fiddle Tunes is back at Centrum with workshops and performances culminating in a Fiddle Tunes finale on Littlefield Green at Fort Worden State Park on Saturday. Sharing tunes at Fort Worden Commons on Tuesday afternoon are, from left: WB Reid of Seattle, Paul Rangell and son Benny of Santa Cruz, Calif., and Suzy Thompson of Berkeley, Calif. Thompson is a past Artistic Director of the Fiddle Tunes. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
Fiddle tunes

After a three-year hiatus, the popular Fiddle Tunes is back at Centrum… Continue reading

Shooting ban area hearing to be set

Neighbors can ask to join if interested

Most Read