Matthew Franjola, AP reporter in Vietnam, dies

Associated Press newsman Matthew J. Franjola is shown somewheree in southeast Asia, 1973. (AP Photo)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Matthew Franjola, a reporter and photographer for The Associated Press who was among the last Americans in Saigon before it fell to the North Vietnamese in 1975, has died. He was 72.

His ex-wife, Grace Franjola, said he died Thursday at Danbury Hospital after a long illness.

She says Franjola trained for the Peace Corps in 1964 but wasn’t selected. Instead, he went to South Vietnam to work for a war supplies company as U.S. military involvement began escalating.

Grace Franjola, who lives in Washington, Connecticut, said her ex-husband also mined for gold in Zimbabwe as it transitioned from white-ruled Rhodesia, and worked in South Africa.

Franjola was a skilled pilot and tennis player.

In addition to his ex-wife, he is survived by two daughters, three brothers and three sisters.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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