Former ST Deputy Editor Felix Soh dies at 63

The Straits Times' former Deputy Editor Felix Soh died from pneumonia at home on Sunday morning. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
The Straits Times' former Deputy Editor Felix Soh died from pneumonia at home on Sunday morning. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - The Straits Times' (ST) former Deputy Editor Felix Soh died from pneumonia at home on Sunday morning.

He was 63.

Mr Soh, who retired in November last year, was also suffering from motor neuron disease, which causes nerve cells to gradually break down and die.

His wife, Mrs Genevieve Soh, 58, said that Mr Soh was unresponsive when she tried to wake him up around 10am on Sunday. The family called paramedics, who pronounced him dead at scene.

Mrs Soh, a housewife, said: "He was diagnosed in April last year... and his condition deteriorated so fast."

She added that work was his life.

"He worked 365 days, and we would be very lucky to have him on Sundays. For him, work would come first and I accepted it. Even if he was at home, he would be preparing for work," she said.

Mr Soh started his journalistic career as a sub-editor. He became the assistant editor of the Singapore Monitor newspaper in 1981 before it folded in 1985. Then, he rejoined ST as an executive sub-editor, and was news editor from 1988 to 1993. He held various other senior posts in ST, including Foreign Editor and Deputy Editor. His last position was as digital media editor of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).

Mr Soh was also the founding member of the Asia News Network (ANN) which promotes coverage of Asian affairs by the Asian media. The partnership is based on a daily cost-free exchange of news, views, photographs and videos by members.

Mr Patrick Daniel, editor-in-chief of the SPH's English/Malay/Tamil Media Group, described Felix as a "multi-talented editor and journalist".

"He had a sharp nose for news, was great at layout and design, brought his creative flair to everything he did, and took to digital media like a duck to water. And he had boundless energy.

"We are all deeply saddened by his death," said Mr Daniel.

Mr Leslie Fong, senior executive vice-president of SPH's Marketing and Digital divisions, added that Mr Soh was the "finest page designer of his generation".

"He did not believe in drawing pretty pages for their own sake. His approach had always been to project in the most visually arresting way stories according to their worth. This required fine editorial judgment," said Mr Fong, who was editor of The Straits Times from 1987 to 2002.

"In short, he was an editor, not just a layout artist."

Ms Susan Low, 54, who had been Mr Soh's secretary since 1988, said he was an excellent boss.

"He was a very concerned boss. I remember one time when I came down with a terrible food poisoning, he told me to go home and rest. And he never forgot my birthday."

Mr Soh's wake will be held at Block 315, Shunfu Road from Sunday evening. He will be cremated on Wednesday. He leaves his wife, son Shaun, 33, and daughter Alana, 30.