Nick Blatchford - Journalist Excelled at Human-Interest Tales at 89 - February 1, 2009

I was so sad to see the notice for Nick Blatchford in today's Washington Post. Here it is:
BLATCHFORD NICK BLATCHFORD May 6,1919 - February 1, 2009 On February 1, 2009, Nick Blatchford of Fairfax, Virginia. He was a noted journalist with the Washington Daily News and Washington Star papers, a lover of people of all walks of life, a hiker of North Woods trails, a fisherman, a husband/father/grandfather/great grandfather, a storyteller.
He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Kim and Ed Jernigan of Nithburg, Ontario; his son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Mary Lee Blatchford of Eldersburg MD; grandchildren, Amanda Jernigan and her partner John Haney, Carey and Ethan Jernigan, David Blatchford and his wife, Deanna and their daughter, Delanie, and Kate Blatchford and her fiance, Tristan York and many, many friends. A memorial service will be held in May. Donations in Nick's memory may be made to the Whitman-Walker Clinic at 1701 14th Street NW, Washington DC 20009 ( ) or to the Faces Foundation, PO Box 69554, Portland OR 97239 ( ).

Washington Post Obit

Photo courtesy of his daughter, Kim Blatchford Jernigan
Attribution: Washington Post 

Reply by Russ White on February 2009 - Nick Blatchford was the finest man I met in nearly 50 years of newspaper work. A top notch editor, a gentleman and a great friend. I was 17 when Nick hired me as a copyboy at the Washington Daily News. He taught me my first and lasting lessons as a journalist. To write about people not scores. To lift the underdog. To crush the bullies. He backed me as the News baseball writer when I was 22 and back from my tour in the Navy. He attended our wedding in January 1967. We stayed friends throughout the years. My friend Dave Moore and I visited Nick at his home not too many years ago and my wife took a picture of Nick, Dave and myself on Nick's four-poster bed. Shortly after this, Nick took a spill at home and lost some of his memory. Meanwhile, Dave had sent him the picture and Nick wrote him that he didn't remember how the picture was taken. "Who are those two guys with me in my bed?" he asked politely.

1 comment:

  1. Posted by David Brussat on March 24, 2009

    I just learned of Nick Blatchford's death last month. I wish to add mine to the condolences offered through this web site to his daughter and his family. Nick was a mentor to me at the beginning of my journalism career. I was a dictationist at the AP in Washington, and used to write really bad, orotund, self-infatuated letters to the editor of the Star. Nevertheless, he saw something in them and when he was the letters editor there he used to beat them into shape and run them. We started meeting regularly for lunch at the Hawk & Dove on Capital Hill, and would ruminate on all sorts of things. This went on for several years. We kept in touch even after I got jobs writing editorials at papers distant from Washington. But alas after time I stopped calling Nick when I visited Washington. I've worked as an editorial writer and columnist for the Providence Journal for the past 24 years, writing mostly on architecture and urban planning. I would like to think Nick would find something pleasing in my work. My last lunch with Nick was after I got married in 1990. I kept thinking of Nick, but as time went on it seemed more and more embarrassing to me that I had not kept up contact with him, and thus it became more and more difficult to do so. Nick was probably the most genuinely kindhearted man I ever knew, a rank sentimentalist and yet a realist in the best tradition of newspaper journalism. Few can manage such a tricky balance successfully. More than anyone I know, he instilled the will to passion in what I write, and yet not without a steely respect for the facts and a feel for the extent to which you can push an idea or a story without going off into outer space. At least those were the qualities Nick embodied, and I have at least tried to honor them in my career I wish I had maintained contact with Nick. I wish I could now call him up and tell him I have just become a father. I think Nick would like that most of all, and I blame myself that I could not see the twinkle in his eye and bask in the warmth of his smile as I told him the news. He was the best.
    - David Brusssat