Teresita (Dioso) Gillespie

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1942 - 2012
Teresita "Tita" Dioso Gillespie, a longtime editor at Newsweek magazine, died on December 18 at the Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, Maryland, after suffering several complications following a heart attack a few weeks ago. She was 70 and is survived by her husband of 42 years, Brette Gillespie, a retired Navy officer.

Ms. Gillespie was a trailblazer for Asian women - and Filipino women in particular - in the field of magazine editing. In its June 2000 issue, Filipinas magazine gave Ms. Gillespie an Achievement Award for being the first Filipina to serve as Newsweek's general editor, noting "Gillespie belongs to a short list of top-caliber Filipino journalists who have increasing influence in the international print media."

Ms. Gillespie was born in Manila, the Philippines, the third of the four children of Leocadio A. Dioso, a Philippine jurist, legal adviser to President Ramon Magsaysay, and diplomat, and the former Rosario Rodriguez Fernandez. After two years at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Ms. Gillespie moved to New York City with her parents and siblings in 1960 when her father was assigned to the Philippine Mission to the United Nations. She completed her undergraduate degree in English and philosophy in 1963 at Hunter College in New York, and went on to receive a program certificate in 17th-century English studies at Exeter College at Oxford University in England and a graduate degree in Medieval French Literature and Civilization from the Sorbonne in Paris, France, where she witnessed the student protests of 1968.

Returning to New York, Ms. Gillespie became a proofreader at Woman's Day magazine. After marrying Mr. Gillespie, she moved to San Francisco, working as an editor at McGraw-Hill. Back in New York five years later, she continued her career as a book editor at the Free Press and John Wiley & Sons. She joined Newsweek in 1976 as an editor on the copydesk, but left the magazine in 1980 to serve a two-year stint as an editor at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in Vienna, Austria. After rejoining Newsweek, she became the magazine's associate editor in charge of style, and in 1992 became its general editor and de facto copy chief. Her tenure at the newsweekly coincided with some of the most momentous historical events of the late twentieth century, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first Gulf War, the invention of the Internet, 9/11, and the election of Barack Obama.

After retiring from Newsweek in 2008, Ms. Gillespie and her husband moved to Crisfield, Maryland. In addition to her husband, Ms. Gillespie is survived by her older brother, Leo Dioso. Her older sister, Maria Dioso Manjon, died in 1995, and her younger brother, Jose Dioso, died in 2000. Other survivors include her nephews Michael Manjon, B.J. Manjon, Lee Dioso, and John Dioso. A memorial service will be held January 5 at 3 p.m. at the Church of the Holy Family, 315 East 47th Street, New York, N.Y.
Published on NYTimes.com from Jan. 4 to Jan. 5, 2013
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