Russ Ewing, longtime ABC7 reporter, dead at 95

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Longtime ABC7 Eyewitness News reporter Russ Ewing has died at age 95.

Russ worked as a reporter at ABC 7 for 14 years, and years before that at NBC.

He was especially well-known for his ability to convince crime suspects to surrender peacefully to police. In fact, more than 100 suspects surrendered with Russ's help over the years.

If he hadn't become a journalist, he could well have been an accomplished musician. Even in his teens, Russ Ewing was making a name for himself in Chicago on the piano, but the lifestyle was not for him.

"I didn't smoke, I didn't drink, I didn't like nightlife, so after a while, I said, 'This isn't for me'" he said.

Every year, Russ would join his friend, jazz great Ramsey Lewis to give us a musical treat.

In 1992, Peter Jennings on ABC News would name Russ Ewing as their "Person of the Week."

He was an author as well, telling the story of mass murderer John Wayne Gacy in a book titled "Buried Dreams."

But one story in particular, Russ liked to recall, the story of how he convinced a deeply religious woman to allow her ill daughter to receive a medical procedure to save her life.

He received many awards, noting his accomplishments over the years and when he retired from ABC7, in 1995, he made it clear it was on his terms.

"I think it's as important to know when to quit as it is to know when to start - and it's time to quit," he said.

But Russ, Chicagoans truly grew accustomed to your face, your work and your one-of-a-kind life. It's a tune we won't forget.
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