MARY DEIBEL

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DEIBEL MARY DEIBEL (Age 65) A journalist who over 26 years covered nearly every aspect of the politics and the policymaking of Washington for the Scripps Howard newspapers, died on May 3, 2013. The cause of death was cancer, her cousin Charles Stern said. Ms. Deibel had lived in Washington since 1980, after being transferred to the city by the Memphis Commercial Appeal, a Scripps Howard newspaper where she had previously spent four years as an editorial writer and columnist in Memphis. After six years as the Commercial Appeal's Washington bureau chief, Ms. Deibel was named a national correspondent for the Scripps Howard chain, where she worked until her retirement in 2006. Her depth, versatility and ability to bring clarity to complex subjects was such that she took on a wide range of reporting assignments. They included Congress, the Supreme Court, economics, legal affairs and the White House. Ms. Deibel also covered every presidential election from the battle between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford in 1976 through the 2004 campaign. "She was a tenacious journalist who thrived on getting the facts. She never wrote something she hadn't checked out thoroughly. She never put her opinion in a news story, and she never, ever psychoanalyzed the people she covered," said Scripps Howard columnist Ann McFeatters. Mary Lawrence Deibel was born February 9, 1948, in St. Louis, MO. She was the only child of Charles B. Deibel, a senior vice president of Norfolk & Western Railroad, and Jane Stern Deibel, a homemaker and community volunteer. Both of her parents predeceased her. She spent her early years in Ladue, MO, until her family moved to Roanoke, VA, where she graduated North Cross School. She received a history degree in 1970 from Duke University, and a masters degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in 1972. Ms. Deibel's first job as a reporter was for the Wilmington News Journal in Delaware, where she spent three years. In 1975, she was named an Alfred P. Sloan fellow at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School. She joined the Commercial Appeal upon completing that program in 1976. Ms. Deibel had a wide circle of friends. She was known for her wit, her gardening talent, her southern-style cooking and the warmth with which she entertained. One of her favorite endeavors was swimming, an activity she pursued almost daily until just weeks before her death. Even in the pool, she found friends-an informal group that met and bonded at Tenley Sport & Health and called itself the "Swimmin' Women." In addition to Charles Stern, she is survived by an aunt, Carolyn Stern, and cousins, Daniel Stern, James Stern, and Kathryn Harper Devoto. Ms. Deibel wished that contributions in her memory be made to the Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments in St. Louis. Services to be held at a later date in St. Louis, MO.


Published in The Washington Post from May 4 to May 6, 2013
Mary Lawrence Deibel
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