Mrs. Breitmeyer Gebert (Family photo)
Eleanor Breitmeyer Gebert made a career out of peeking behind the scenes of the public and private lives of many of Metro Detroit’s most notable names.
During her 35 years at The Detroit News, first as a reporter in the paper’s “Women’s Department” followed by Club Editor and Society Editor, Mrs. Gebert covered the area’s social scene, attending cultural events, coming-out parties of debutantes and high-profile weddings.
“She was sort of a walking encyclopedia on the history of Detroit society,” said David Good, a reporter and editor at The News for 34 years. “She knew everybody and they knew her.”
Mrs. Gebert, of Bloomfield Hills, died Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, at Arden Courts in Bingham Farms due to complications from a stroke. She was 87.
While she heard the juiciest gossip, long-time friend Sue Nine said, Mrs. Gebert had an unshakeable code of ethics and “never printed anything untoward about anyone, ever.”
She was known around the office for keeping extra pairs of white dress gloves neatly folded in her desk drawer, available if a sudden assignment called for them, colleagues said.
Mrs. Gebert, who had been managing editor at the Northville Record, joined The News in 1952, retiring in 1987.
In 1976, she married Armand Gebert, who had been the arts critic, a crime reporter and the ethnic editor at The News. He died in 2009.
Mrs. Gebert was born April 16, 1926, in Detroit and raised in Livonia Township. She graduated as valedictorian from Northville High School and won a scholarship to attend the University of Michigan. She studied journalism there and graduated in 1948.
Mrs. Gebert received many awards for public service and an honorary degree from Schoolcraft College for her volunteer work. She served as president of the Detroit Chapter of the Association for Women in Communications in 1955 and received its Headliner Award for outstanding work in the field in 1965.
Visitation is at 1:30 p.m. Sunday with the funeral to follow at 2 p.m. at Cross of Christ Lutheran Church, 1100 Lone Pine Road, Bloomfield Hills.
Memorial contributions can be made to the EleanorBreitmeyer and Armand Gebert Scholarship in Journalism at Wayne State University, c/o Ms. Laura Orme, Development Director, College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts; Wayne State University, 5104 Gullen Mall, Detroit, MI 48202. Checks should be made payable to Wayne State University.
Contributions can also be made to the University of Michigan, c/o Ms. Donna Parr, Development Officer; University of Michigan, 3003 S. State St., Suite 9000, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. Checks should be made payable to the University of Michigan or any charity of choice.