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  • "Rosalie Such a wonderful way of celebrating Michael's..."
    - Charles & Camille Grace
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Michael. 85, whose powerful editorials ran in the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1966 to 1984, died Wednesday, May 9, of cardiac arrest. Born as Edward Michael Pakenham, for the past 17 years, he lived in Wellsville, PA. Michael's editorials on violence by Philadelphia police were cited by the Pulitzer Prize board important to the Inquirer's 1978 public service award. Michael (never called Ed or Mike), was known not only for his strong editorial voice, but also for his wine column and book, "Michael Pakenham on Wine." "He was an expert on a wide array of subjects, ranging from city politics, criminal violence, Irish history, American literature, fly fishing in the West, and vintage wines," said William K. Marimow, former Inquirer editor. An urbane presence in the newsroom, the bespectacled Mr. Pakenham was "bigger than life. The key point was the passion and ardor with which he wrote," Marimow said. "What he added to the newsroom, in addition to his fabulous inquiring mind, was great wit and humor and a deep sense of the irony of life. He loved the vast, roiling waters of news itself, and always gave us great benefit of his thinking, in addition to crafting savvy, cutting editorials" wrote Maxwell King, CEO of the Pittsburgh Foundation and former Inquirer editor. Born in Manhattan, August 5, 1932 to Thomas Compton Pakenham and Sara Villepigue Furman, Michael was graduated from Blair Academy in 1955, continuing at MIT and Columbia after serving in the United States Air Force for four years in Japan. Starting at the City News Bureau in Chicago in 1958, he moved to the Chicago Tribune as Washington correspondent, covering JFK and LBJ. Back to New York, he was assistant foreign editor at the New York Herald Tribune. In 1984, the New York Daily News named him editorial page editor. He moved to London in 1990, birthing the fledgling London Sunday Correspondent as executive editor, the same title he later held at Spin Magazine. From 1994 to 2004, he was books editor and literary columnist at the Baltimore Sun. In 2001, Michael and the former Rosalie Muller Wright, another journalist, were married and moved to a bucolic farm in Mennonite country, where they edited books for friends. Michael's remains are at the Yellow Frame Cemetery, near Blairstown, NJ, where he spent his childhood. His daughter, Catherine Pakenham, lives in Boston. Rosalie Muller Wright Pakenham

Published in The New York Times on Aug. 12, 2018
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