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Outdoors Journalist Terry Tomalin Dies At 55

Joseph Gamble
Joseph Gamble Photography
Terry Tomalin (right) and former WUSF News Director Scott Finn explore the wild Upper Hillsborough River in 2012. Tomalin, the Tampa Bay Times outdoors editor, died suddenly Thursday.

Terry Tomalin, the outdoors editor for the Tampa Bay Times, died suddenly Thursday.

Tomalin was also a member of the faculty at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, where he taught digital journalism and led the Outdoor Leadership Program. He was also a graduate of USF.

Tomalin worked with WUSF Public Media in the past on stories about nature, including a 2012 look at the Hillsborough River.

Credit Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News
WUSF 89.7 News
Tomalin (center back, in green hat) recently led students from USF St. Petersburg and Fairmount Park Elementary School, on a canoe trip on Tampa Bay.

He most recently was heard on WUSF's University Beat. Three weeks ago, he led a canoe trip on Tampa Bay that paired USF St. Pete students with fifth graders from Fairmount Park Elementary School.

Like he did with his writing, Tomalin wanted to share his love of nature and Florida with those younger students.

"People go from their air conditioned office to their air conditioned car to their air conditioned store – they’re never outside," he said. "But you get kids out here like this and you say ‘this is where we live, you know, this is where people have lived for thousands of years,’ really puts them in touch with the environment, puts them in touch with their community and I think it makes them stronger and healthier."

Tomalin died Thursday after suffering a heart attack while taking a life guarding test with his teenage son, Kai, in St. Petersburg. He's also survived by his wife, St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, and daughter, Nia.

He was 55.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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