2010 — Cleveland, Ohio
Janice Fleming Ghetia-Orr was a reporter, publicist, poet and painter..........................
A cop guarding a murder scene in the 1940s told cub reporter Janice Arlene Fleming of the Cleveland News, "You can't go in there, girlie."
She sneaked in the house's back door with a male photographer. Let's skip the details and just say she ruined her new suede pumps.
Fleming went on to become a Plain Dealer columnist, Sun Newspapers managing editor, head of Ghetia Public Relations and Janice Ghetia-Orr. She also published poems and exhibited paintings.
The twice-widowed woman died Sept. 29 at Normandy Manor, Rocky River. She was 86.
"She was a whirlwind," recalled long-time Cleveland reporter Doris O'Donnell. "She moved fast, talked fast, got stories fast, wrote fast. She was sparkling."
She was born in Cleveland, published a poem at 13, won an Ohio Poetry Society prize at 17 and graduated from East High School. She led a team of several women writing obituaries at the News for local victims of World War II. The reporters were often the first to break the news to the survivors. After the war, most of the women were laid off, but Fleming and O'Donnell survived.
The job was never dull. Fleming interviewed Burt Lancaster and shared a cab ride with a bear.
She married fellow News reporter George Ghetia, raised three children with him in Lakewood and wrote a column, "Life With Baby." One column described youngsters holding an atomic air raid drill: "As I watched our little daughter and these others participating in this 'game,' I realized what an all-out war would mean to our baby and her playmates."
In 1979, her husband died, and she took over his Ghetia Public Relations. She edited publications for the Al Koran Shrine, Northern Ohio Petroleum Retailers Association, Cleveland Area Board of Realtors and others.
In 1984, she married her late husband's war comrade, Douglas Orr. The couple lived in Moreland Hills and later Hamlet Hills in Chagrin Falls. She held poetry workshops at Hamlet Hills, published collections of residents' poems and exhibited her watercolors.
Tabone-Komorowski handled her arrangements. Survivors include three children and five grandchildren. Two of her children have followed her as writers, and the oldest, Gail Ghetia Bellamy, married into another leading local family of writers.