Ann Cline, 87, a reporter and editor at the old Washington Star and one of the first women to work in its newsroom, died of congestive heart disease May 10 at Collingswood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rockville. In 38 years at the Star, Ms. Cline rose from copy girl to deputy editor of the Washington Life section. She also worked for two years as a sportswriter during World War II.
It wasn't until 2006 that she became a member of the National Press Club, though her father was a founding member in 1908. Women were barred until 1971, and by that time Ms. Cline wasn't interested in joining, her family said. But when Knight Kiplinger, an editor and husband of one of her nieces, offered to sponsor her, she agreed.
A native Washingtonian who was raised in Falls Church, Ms. Cline was the daughter of Mary Marjorie Brigham and Sheldon Scott Cline, who was the managing editor of the Evening Star when he died in 1928. Ms. Cline graduated from the former Jefferson High School in Falls Church and from Strayer Business College. She did secretarial work for several years while taking night classes at George Washington University and Dumbarton College.
After she took a journalism class in 1943, Ms. Cline applied to the Star, which, because of the shortage of men during World War II, had begun hiring women to the low-ranking newsroom position of copy boy. She applied without telling her older brother, Jack, who was the paper's chief editorial writer. Within five months, she was the head copy girl. She got a chance to break in as cub reporter on the sports staff, though she once covered a hockey game without ever previously having seen a game.
Like many other "Rosie the Riveters" in American industry, Ms. Cline found herself scrambling for a new job when male veterans returned from the war. She joined the mostly female staff of the Society section, which became the Women's section, Portfolio and finally Washington Life. She covered social and diplomatic events, edited copy and eventually became deputy editor.
She retired when the Star folded in 1981.
Ms. Cline, a longtime resident of Bethesda, enjoyed watercolor painting, gardening and volunteering at Suburban Hospital. In the 1970s, she studied yoga with Savitri Ahuja, whose classes were popular with congressional and Cabinet wives, diplomats, journalists and socialites.
She had no immediate survivors.