David Perlman, Chronicle science editor, caps distinguished careerColleagues, friends, San Francisco’s mayor and a U.S. senator raised their glasses in San Francisco on Friday to mark the retirement of America’s senior journalist, David Perlman, whose Chronicle career spanned eight decades and who enjoyed every day of them.Perlman, who stepped down last week from The Chronicle’s reporting staff at the age of 98, was thought to be the oldest full-time reporter in the U.S. His official title at the newspaper was science editor, but Perlman said that was way too fancy for his taste and that he was just a “regular reporter.”Born seven weeks after the end of World War I, Perlman — known fondly to his colleagues as “Dr. Dave” — began his Chronicle career in 1940 as a copy boy and, except for service during World War II, has been a fixture in the newsroom ever since.During the 1970s, he served briefly as city editor, directing the paper’s news coverage, until requesting to be allowed to return to science reporting.“When the space shot’s headed for the moon, when a deadly earthquake hits at noon, who’s the man who gets the scoop, it’s Dr. Dave,” Fagan sang, while three newsroom colleagues danced the Charleston and other steps popular when Perlman was writing his first stories for a newspaper in Schenectady, N.Y., in the 1930s.Colleagues were relieved to learn that Perlman, in addition to retiring, has also been designated the newspaper’s first science editor emeritus.
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