Arnold J. Karr, senior financial editor at Women’s Wear Daily, who spent the better part of his 40-year career at Fairchild Publications, primarily at WWD and its brother publication, DNR, died Friday from liver cancer. He was 62.
Funeral services were held Sunday in Rockville Centre, N.Y.
Karr, a highly respected and beloved editor with a keen journalistic instinct, prolific writing ability and well-rounded experience, was also an adjunct professor of journalism at the Fashion Institute of Technology and an accomplished musician known for his keyboard play, notably the accordion.
Karr held several posts and responsibilities over the years at WWD, most recently including coverage of the denim market, development of research pieces and financial reporting.
“Arnie’s colleagues at WWD are all heartbroken by his passing,” said WWD editor in chief Ed Nardoza. “He was a bold, funny, high-powered force in our newsroom. A smart, consummate journalist, gifted professional musician and a natural teacher, Arnie had a rare instinct for mentoring inexperienced reporters who came to him with little more than a hunger for a career in journalism. Time and again, we saw Arnie turn WWD’s young staffers into real reporters. We’ll miss his patience, his empathy, his journalism and his irrepressible humor.”
Karr was born on May 24, 1953, in Franklin Square, N.Y. After graduating from Valley Stream North High School in Valley Stream, N.Y., he received his bachelor’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in 1975.
He began his journalism career immediately thereafter, joining DNR in 1976 as shirts and sweaters editor, and transferring to the paper’s Los Angeles bureau as West Coast editor the following year. After a brief stint as editor of Men’s Apparel News, he rejoined DNR in New York as apparel and retail editor in 1980, and was subsequently promoted to associate editor. Karr was to subsequently return to Los Angeles to run his own public relations company, which included such clients as Bugle Boy Industries and the MAGIC trade show. He returned to Fairchild once again in 2007, serving as senior online editor and then financial editor.
During his career, Karr built strong relationships throughout the fashion industry thanks to his charismatic personality, friendly demeanor and strong journalistic standards.
“I am truly saddened by Arnie’s death, and the world of fashion reporting has lost a true talent, someone who loved the industry and the people in the industry so much,” said Chip Bergh, president and chief executive officer of Levi Strauss & Co.
Emanuel Chirico, ceo of PVH Corp., said, “Arnie was a great supporter and friend of PVH. We will miss his understanding and coverage of our company and his ongoing support to articulate our ever-changing story.”
“Arnie Karr is one of those very special and very rare people,” said Dana Telsey, chief executive officer of Telsey Advisory Group. “Always ready to help in any way, always full of optimism, and always a way of putting the situation into context and perspective that shows he gets it.”
Allan Ellinger, senior managing partner at MMG Inc., said: “I always thought of Arnie as sort of a Renaissance guy because of his ability to write, his intuitive understanding of business and his love of music.”
During his off time, Karr taught journalism for more than 25 years at FIT, proudly helping to mold the next generation of reporters and editors. With his booming baritone voice, he also played in a series of bands that generally focused on music from the early days of rock ‘n’ roll. He was adept at many instruments, had a vast knowledge of musical history and exhibited the same passion about music that he brought to all his endeavors.
His father Norman, a fashion industry public relations executive who helmed The Fashion Association and initiated numerous industry charity events, including The American Image Awards, died in 2009. Karr is survived by his wife, Rhea; a son, Daniel; his mother, Selma, and a sister, Joanne Skop.