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  • "RIP buddy! Tom and I did the first Bluegrass show on WAMU..."
    - Frank Scruggs
  • "Tom and I met when we were students at American University..."
    - Joanna Scruggs
  • "You must be very proud of your brother. Thanks so much for..."
    - Sue Bernstein
  • "So sorry for your loss. May the fond memories you have of..."
  • "Uncle Tom kept his Deputy Dog costume in Nana's basement..."
    - Helen S. Manning
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HYRE THOMAS MARTENEY HYRE Radio and Television Pioneer Emmy Award-winning audio engineer and broadcasting pioneer Thomas Marteney Hyre passed on April 6, 2013 at the age of 74. Mr. Hyre was born in Washington, DC on August 10, 1938 to French Marion Hyre, an agricultural economist, and Harriet Jane Miller Hyre, a homemaker, both originally of Morgantown, WV. He graduated from Bethesda Chevy Chase High School in 1956. Mr. Hyre attended American University in Washington, D.C., graduating with a B.A. degree in Communications and History in 1962. He was a founding member of WAMU-FM, and the Engineer on Duty for the station's inaugural broadcast. He was instrumental in developing the National Educational Radio Network, which subsequently grew into National Public Radio. He and his then-wife collaborated on a groundbreaking mixed-media radio English-teaching project for the Voice of America/US Information Agency, intended for foreign audiences as a unique early form of cultural diplomacy. The couple also traveled to the southern African nation of Swaziland under the aegis of the Peace Corps, for the purpose of developing that country's television network. During the late 1950's and 1960's, he worked with every major radio and TV station in the Washington, D.C. area including WTOP, WTTG-TV (FOX), and NBC, ABC and CBS affiliates. Early career highlights include coverage of the Kennedy assassination (he was the first to notify the White House staff of Lee Harvey Oswald's death), the Apollo 11 mission, Watergate and the Moratorium March on Washington to End the Vietnam War. During his tenure at WTTG-TV, he was the original Deputy Dog, and worked alongside Jim Henson during the early development of the Muppet characters. In the early 1970's, Mr. Hyre was brought to New York by WNBC, beginning his more- than 40 year career as an audio engineer for the emerging NBC Network headquartered at Rockefeller Center. Nominated for three Emmy Awards and winning one, he was pivotal to the coverage of virtually every major cultural and political event until his retirement (celebrated on the Today Show) in 2004. He rose to the position of Senior Audio Engineer as a member of the NABET, CWA and AFTRA unions. Part of the original crew for News Center 4, his myriad audio production credits also include The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, thousands of NBC Sports events and several Olympic Games, Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman, various soap operas, The Cosby Show, annual Miss America pageants and Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parades, in addition to countless TV specials and special events news coverage, including the OJ Simpson trial and the events of September 11, 2001. Among his many contributions to the evolution of modern audio production, he and his colleagues at WNBC-NY were responsible for the first trans-Atlantic cable broadcast, the first satellite audio feeds, and canonization of technique for the first regular television series to be broadcast in stereo (the Tonight Show). Mr. Hyre was also an accomplished classical, jazz, rock and country/bluegrass musician. He was first trained on horn and brass (trombone, trumpet, tuba, Frech horn, sousaphone) and then expanded to string instruments (guitar, dobro, banjo, autoharp, violin, and most notably, upright bass and bass guitar). His intimate knowledge of these instruments enabled him to devise specialized acoustic recording techniques which are standard practice today. He was an integral part of the vibrant D.C.-based mid-Atlantic rock and country music circuit in the 1960s, performing live and in-session with a roster of internationally-renowned recording talent that gave voice to his generation. After a career at the heart of innovation in broadcast radio and television, and a lifetime spent shaping the sound of American public life, Mr. Hyre passed quietly at home, surrounded by family. Memorial visitation was held at the Doyle Funeral Home in Morristown, NJ, with a Funeral service to follow later this summer at Drummond Chapel United Methodist Church in Morgantown, WV. He is survived by his two sisters (Joanne Hyre Manning and Helen Hyre Fussell), former-wife (Beth Miriam Teweles Hyre), three children (Mae Amanda Hyre, Thomas French Hyre, and Charles Stephen Hyre), daughter-in-law (Darcy Clare White Hyre), his first expected grandson (due August, 2013), and a hootenanny of nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends. His bright smile, sparkling wit and rhetorical peculiarities will be dearly missed, but never forgotten. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be directed to the Friends of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

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Doyle Funeral Home
106 Maple Ave.
Morristown, NJ 07960
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Published in The Washington Post on Apr. 14, 2013
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