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Obituaries

Ed Corsetti, 87; reporter cut teeth covering Brink’s robbery in Boston

ED CORSETTI

ED CORSETTI

Ed Corsetti was relatively unseasoned when he was assigned to cover what would become one of the biggest stories of his newspaper career: the 1950 robbery in the North End of the Brink’s company.

“I was this cub reporter,” he said in an interview recorded by Belmont High School students last year. “I mean, I was about as low as you could get. I can say that the Brink’s robbery gave me a boost, to my career, because I learned an awful lot.”

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During decades of working for the Hearst-owned newspapers that became today’s Boston Herald, Mr. Corsetti was known as “the inspector.” Colleagues said he had numerous connections, never gave up a source, and always managed to get the story.

“He was the king of news,” said Stanley Forman, who worked with Mr. Corsetti at the Boston ­Herald American for many years. “He just knew everybody.”

Mr. Corsetti, 87, who left the newspaper business after the Hearst Corp. sold the paper in 1982 and finished his working days as a tax examiner for the IRS, died of emphysema May 28 in his Medford home.

In a career that began in the 1940s, he covered major stories such as the Boston Strangler, the Brink’s robbery, and Joan Risch, a mother of two from Lincoln who disappeared in 1961 and was never found.

“If there was a big story, he covered it,” Forman said.

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Paul Sullivan met Mr. Corsetti when he started working in the Boston Record American in 1969.

“He knew the fakers and the shakers,” Sullivan said. “He was on a first-name basis with every district attorney in Massachusetts. . . . He was the real deal.”

When Mr. Corsetti took out his notebook and started writing, “everybody would just give him everything,” Forman said. “He just had that honesty, that street sense about him.”

Sources from the governor to a host of others would call the family’s house, recalled Mr. Corsetti’s daughter Anne Brogan of Medford.

Stephanie Schorow met Mr. Corsetti in 2005 while working on her book, “The Crime of the ­Century: How the Brink’s Robbers Stole Millions and the Hearts of Boston.”

She said Mr. Corsetti knew Adolph “Jazz” Maffie, one of the Brink’s robbers, before the crime ­occurred because Maffie was a bookie at a business Mr. Corsetti went to while looking for stories.

“Eddie was a newspaper man of the old school,” Schorow said. “He was somebody who knew how to write a story with a ‘just the facts’ attitude. He had a lot of moxie.”

In the interview Belmont students recorded last year, Mr. Corsetti said that about three weeks after the Brink’s robbery, he was instructed to cover the story nonstop. He said his editor told him: “I want a story on my desk every single day. I don’t care if it’s a paragraph or five pages.”

Edward George Corsetti was born in Glens Falls, N.Y. His four older siblings were born in Italy and moved to the United States with their parents shortly before Mr. Corsetti’s birth, his daughter said.

Mr. Corsetti’s family moved to the Boston area. Fresh out of high school and following the death of his father, Mr. Corsetti joined the US Navy at 17 and served in the South Pacific during World War II to make money to help support his family, his daughter said.

After the war, she said, he attended Boston University for a while and began a long career in newspapers. “He was always interested in crime,” she said.

Around that time, he started dating Marie Martin, who was “the girl next door,” their daughter said. After about a year, they married.

During some of the time he lived in Medford, Mr. Corsetti coached Little League and was involved with the city’s planning board, his daughter said, and most summers the family rented a cottage in New Hampshire.

Not one for the beach, Mr. Corsetti would “stay in the cottage cooking all day,” she said.

Even after the children grew up, she said, the family gathered every Sunday for a big dinner.

“It was usually a roast and some kind of pasta, a full-blown Italian dinner,” she said, adding that her parents usually made the meal together.

“They always worked together and were in synch,” she said.

When Rupert Murdoch bought the Herald American in 1982, Mr. Corsetti left in one of the first staffing cuts made by the new management.

By then, his daughter said, he felt that he had done his job “and had done it well, and it was time for the next chapter.”

Mr. Corsetti switched careers and went to work as a tax examiner for about 10 years before retiring.

“He was a really detail-oriented guy, and it fit him and he really enjoyed it,” she said.

A service has been held for Mr. Corsetti, who addition to his wife and daughter leaves another daughter, Elaine Buckley of Dracut; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

After retiring, Mr. Corsetti enjoyed cooking, spending time with his children and grandchildren, and gardening.

“He grew roses,” his daughter Anne said. “We tell people and they look at us like, ‘What? Eddie grew roses?’ ”

Mr. Corsetti, she said, “was this tough guy on the exterior, but had a heart of gold.”

Alli Knothe can be reached at aknothe@globe.com.

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