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Longtime political writer Jack W. Germond dies

Spent majority of his career with Baltimore Sun, Washington Star
By T.C. Cameron

Former Baltimore Sun columnist Jack W. Germond died early this morning at his Charles Town, W. Va., home overlooking the Shenandoah River. He was 85.

The cause of death was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

"Jack died from the consequences of a life well-lived,” said Alice Travis Ruby, his wife and former secretary of the Democratic National Committee, in an obituary by the Sun’s Frederick N. Rasmussen.

Described as irascible but a fixture on the American political scene, Germond spent almost 50 years covering American politics, including almost 20 from the Sun’s Washington bureau. He was raised in Boston and later Baton Rouge, the son of an engineer and homemaker. Germond graduated from the University of Missouri.

Germond joined the Sun with his longtime writing partner, Jules Witcover, in August 1981 after the Washington Star folded. He stayed until 2000, when he retired.

In May 2012, Germond wrote a first-person essay about his time at the Sun for the paper’s Sunday magazine. He spoke about his trepidation in joining the paper.

“I was aware of The Sun's reputation for quality, and I had read the paper often in the 20 years I had been covering Washington and national politics,” Germond said. “I knew the work of its stars — notably Phil Potter, Pat Furgurson and later Paul West — because we often were covering the same story.”

Germond reveled in the fact the Sun was a local paper which also covered national news, a stark contrast from the Star, which demanded the larger, national news be the focal point of local coverage, too.

“The Baltimore Sun was indeed a local newspaper, but it was not a parochial newspaper,” Germond said. “I enjoyed reporting with the resources of The Sun because of the people and issues involved and what we could learn from the results.”

Germond is survived by his wife, a daughter and several grandchildren.

— Information from reports by the Baltimore Sun were used in compiling this story

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