JFK Assassination Reporter Tom Wicker Dies At 85

Tom Wicker, one of postwar America's most distinguished journalists, has died at the age of 85. Host Scott Simon has a remembrance.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

As a young reporter, Tom Wicker covered a beaver dam for the Sandhill, North Carolina Citizen. He went on to travel the world as a White House reporter and columnist for the New York Times and was in Dallas on November 22nd, 48 years ago this week when John F. Kennedy was shot. It was in a world before cell phones and text messages.

Tom Wicker blinked back tears, scrawled notes on the back of White House press releases, and grabbed pay phones to dictate some of the vivid personal details of a historic tragedy. Her face was sorrowful, he said in his long rolling dispatch describing Jacqueline Kennedy leaving the hospital in Dallas. She looked steadily at the floor. She still wore the raspberry-colored suit in which she greeted welcoming crowds, but she had taken off the matching pillbox hat she had worn earlier in the day and her dark hair was windblown and tangled. Her hand rested lightly on her husband's coffin as it was taken to a waiting hearse. Tom Wicker went on to write 20 books, including novels, and was asked by prison inmates to be a mediator in the 1971 uprising in Attica prison, about which he wrote his 1975 book "A Time to Die." Tom Wicker was 85 when he died yesterday, peacefully at his home in Vermont.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: You're listening to NPR News.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: