Longtime Columnist John M. McKelway; 72 - June 1, 1998

John M. McKelway, who wrote "The Rambler" column for the Washington Evening Star and then for the Washington Times and was a fixture in the lives of two generations of area newspaper readers, died of cancer June 1 at his home in Kensington.

Mr. McKelway was a Washington native and the everyday life of his hometown area was the focus of his life's work. He wrote about local politics and schools, his family and friends, the Redskins and the Orioles, weather and the changing seasons, firecrackers and the Fourth of July, traffic on the Capital Beltway and a myriad of other topics.

A veteran of the city rooms at The Washington Star and The Washington Times, Mr. McKelway was a rare wordsmith, plucking the gems from everyday life with good humor and a generous hand. His pen was keen and affectionate, tinctured with wit but never marred with vitriol.

Mr. McKelway wrote the column "The Rambler" for 22 years at The Star, providing a wry showcase of local lore and pithy ruminations.

Attribution: Washington Post

Reply by Russ White on July 5, 2008 - John McKelway was one of my newspaper heroes and also the kind gentleman who introduced me to liquid lunches on the Hill. His amusing Rambler columns were the first thing I turned to in the Star. He did a telephone book review every so often that delighted me so much, that I wrote one in 1994 for the Orlando Sentinel. Although the Sentinel's editors preferred hard-edged stories ( even when I was the paper's religion writer) they carried the telephone book funfest on A-1 with a color picture of a woman named Mrs. Hug. Ididn't have the vaguest idea where John was or if he were alive or I would have sent him the piece. I treasured also his annual forecast for the Washington Senators. He would write that Ed Brinkman would hit .495 that season. Mike Epstein would hit .495, also. As my woeful career slipped away I worked at a small town Florida daily and wrote a daily column. For this I managed to win the 2000 Florida Press Association's Second Prize for column writing and a First Prize for Obituary writing. I think John would have appreciated my response to the obit award. I admitted to the Association's members that I had a great atvantage in obituary writing - "I'm 6-foot-3 and the people I'm writing about are all six feet and under."

No comments:

Post a Comment