Richard Laskos, former archdiocesan public relations officer, dies at 70

Richard Laskos at his May 30, 2008, retirement gathering. (File photo)

Richard Laskos at his May 30, 2008, retirement gathering. (File photo)

DETROIT — Just seven-and-a-half short years after retiring from the Detroit archdiocese, Richard (Rich) Laskos died Jan. 20 in Oakwood Hospital, Dearborn. He began working in the public relations office in 1973.

At his 2008 farewell party, Laskos said, “It’s a good group of people that I work with, and I’m really going to miss them.” He died after a years-long struggle with Parkinson’s disease combined with complications from pneumonia. He was 70.

After graduating from Wayne State University, Laskos served in Vietnam in the Army’s Public Affairs Office. He had a brief stint as a reporter at The Spinal Column before coming to work at the archdiocese. Over the next 35 years, he would work for five different communication directors, dealing with scores upon scores of news reporters as well as priests, parishioners and the general public.

The highlight of his career, he would say, was Pope St. John Paul II’s 1987 visit to Detroit. On that occasion, Laskos served as the lead anchor on the Catholic Television Network of Detroit (CTND). He would go on to host several other broadcasts, most notably the weekly interview program, Compass.

A hard-working, dedicated professional, Laskos was also a ballroom dancer extraordinaire. He rarely missed the Thursday evening get-together at a local dance studio. An avid reader, many a lunch break would be spent walking from the Gabriel Richard Building to the Skillman Branch of the Detroit Public Library to return and pick-up yet another batch of books.

Rich is survived by a brother, Eugene (Doris), and a sister, Linda (Frank) Burn. Funeral arrangements are pending.

A memorial Mass will be celebrated Wednesday, Feb. 17, at St. Anselm Parish, Dearborn Heights, at 10 a.m. Following the liturgy, churchgoers are invited to a luncheon, hosted by the Laskos family, in the parish social hall.