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Frank Bond Jr., former WBAL-TV reporter and Newseum staff member, dies

Frank Bond Jr. worked for two TV stations, and for the Freedom Forum, the First Amendment Center and The Newseum.
Frank Bond Jr. worked for two TV stations, and for the Freedom Forum, the First Amendment Center and The Newseum.

Frank Bond Jr., a former WBAL-TV reporter who later was a producer at The Newseum in Washington, D.C., died Friday at his Mount Washington home. He was 68.

His daughter, Lauren Garrett-Bond, said no cause of death had been established.

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Born in Baltimore and raised in Ashburton, he was the son of Frank Bond Sr., a Maryland Transit Administration bus driver, and his wife, Talmadge, an educator.

His grandfather, James Emory Bond, made news in 1964 when he appeared in an interview on WBAL-TV and gave a citizen’s viewpoint on crime and poverty in Baltimore. The interview is now in the archives of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum.

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A member of Grace and St. Peter’s Church, where he was an acolyte and subdeacon, he also attended its school on Park Avenue in Mount Vernon.

A family biography said he was a pioneering African American student at Friends School, where he was a 1969 graduate. He played basketball, lacrosse and football at Friends.

Mr. Bond earned a bachelor of science at the Johns Hopkins University, where he also played football and lacrosse.

A knee injury ended his college sports career, but he continued his affection for sports throughout his life.

“Frank enjoyed a good game of pickup basketball or throwing baseballs around with his kids, and playing croquet and putt-putt golf at the beach or around his yard,” said his daughter, Lauren.

Craig Hankin, a friend from Johns Hopkins, said, “Frank was gracious and welcoming, and always had a ready smile.”

“He was truly the kind of person who made you better for being in the same room as he was.”

Mr. Bond joined WBAL-TV and worked there from 1977 to 1986. He was initially a photographer and became a reporter.

Rob Roblin, a former WBAL- TV reporter, recalled working with Mr. Bond.

“We covered news on Smith Island and in the coalfields of Western Maryland,” Mr. Roblin said. "Frank was an amazing fellow. He had a caring and loving personality, and it served him on his job.

"I remember this coal miners’ strike. Now there aren’t too many African Americans in far Western Maryland and the two of us go into a general store. The guys are sitting around a potbelly stove and chewing tobacco.

“Frank goes up and starts talking like they were best buddies.”

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After leaving WBAL-TV, he took a job with Gannett News in Washington, D.C.

“While with Gannett, he traveled to the Pan-Am Games, the Olympics, and disasters where he prided himself on sharing the news of the day with the world,” his daughter said.

Mr. Bond went on to join Channel 9 News (WUSA), also in Washington.

In the late 1990s he moved to production and on-air talent for the Freedom Forum. He worked for the First Amendment Center and The Newseum, a news museum.

“The job afforded him an opportunity to continue to grow and stretch his talents,” his daughter said. “The construction and design of The Newseum was something he dearly loved. He produced wonderful exhibits on the Berlin Wall, Hurricane Katrina and the civil rights movement, and did the voice-overs on powerful stories that rang over the museum for the many years that it was open.

“His greatest joy at his Newseum post was working with the youth program that was held there. He loved inspiring young student journalists to make their mark."

His daughter said her father collected friends everywhere he went.

“Every event or assignment was an opportunity for adventure and exploration,” she said. “He traveled and told stories and worked alongside some of his dearest friends.”

“The greatest joy of his last several years has been the addition of his two grandchildren, who he insisted should call him Bondini [his college nickname],” his daughter said.

Mr. Bond enjoyed writing and often gave poems to family members.

A memorial has been established in his name at Friends School.

Plans for a memorial service are incomplete.

In addition to his daughter, survivors include a son, Daniel Faulkner-Bond of Asheville, North Carolina; another daughter, Molly Faulkner-Bond of College Park; a brother, Jay Bond of Baltimore; a sister, Saundra Bond, of Baltimore; and two grandchildren.

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