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Patrick McCauley

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Patrick McCauley Obituary
Patrick McCauley

June 30, 1927 -

April 12, 2015

Patrick Earl McCauley, a native of Alexandria, was editor of The Huntsville Times for 27 eventful years, longer than any other editor in the paper's history by the time he retired in 1994. Throughout his long career, he reported on issues ranging from local politics to the development of the space program in Huntsville to the social issues of the day, primarily the desegregation battles that rocked our nation.

McCauley earned the Master of Arts degree in political science at Vanderbilt University in 1957. With his newspaper experience in Huntsville he was hired as assistant director of Southern Education Reporting Service, a news agency established by a cadre of national newspaper editors and educators and financed by the Ford Foundations' Fund for the Advancement of Education. It was 1954 and the Supreme Court of the United States, in Brown vs. Topeka (Kansas) Board of Education had ruled segregated schools unconstitutional.

From missiles and municipal affairs, McCauley's focus quickly shifted to the vast social revolution just beginning, with all its political, legal and economic ramifications that persist to this day. He edited the journal Southern School News, advised journalists and other researchers on current developments in school desegregation, and compiled two books on related subjects. One, "With All Deliberate Speed," published by Harper and Row, was a collection of essays assessing the three years following Brown. The other, "Southern Schools: Progress and Problems," was a statistical study of Southern education in the fateful years 1947-1957.

In 1959, McCauley returned to newspaper work, as editorial writer for the Charlotte News and then The Times-Picayune in New Orleans in 1960. Foreign trade, and maritime affairs, the colorful local history, characters and politics were the focus of his attention. A native Louisianan, born in Alexandria and a graduate of Tulane University, he resumed studies toward the PhD in political science there. He was a director of the New Orleans Jazz Club and edited its journal, The Second Line. With his wife, Imogene Morgan McCauley, whom he'd met and married in Huntsville in 1950, he settled down for good in the Big Easy. But in 1966, he was offered the editorship of The Huntsville Times. He and his wife returned to Huntsville, where Pat continued his career.

In addition to his duties at the newspaper, McCauley was active in civic and cultural affairs of the community, serving as president of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Board and the Huntsville Literary Association. He was a member of the Symphony Board of 30 years, and of the governing boards for many years of such organizations as the Arts Council and the Historic Huntsville Foundation.

He served on the Huntsville Hospital's Ethics Committee, the Liberal Arts Advisory Committee at UAH, and in various ad hoc roles usually dealing with publications. He served terms as a member and as president of the Parish Council of St. Mary of the Visitation Catholic Church. He was a very devout Catholic, spending many hours studying the nuances of religion and philosophy.

He was a man who loved historical and philosophical discussions, and spent many evenings in lively debate with his friends over the meaning of many writings and historical actions. In his later years, he loved to entertain friends for dinner, and learned the art of Cajun cooking.

He was predeceased by his parents, Earl S. and Olivia Oestriecher McCauley, and his beloved wife, Imogene Morgan McCauley. He is survived by many members of the Morgan family, and his cousin Emile P. Oestriecher, III, and his children, Anne and Kurt Oestriecher, all of Alexandria, LA. He leaves behind a legacy of story-telling and entertaining that will be sorely missed.

Visitation will be at Laughlin Service Funeral Home, 2320 Bob Wallace Ave., Huntsville, AL from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 16 with a recitation of the rosary and prayer vigil at 7:30 p.m. Visitation will continue Friday morning from 8:30 to 10 at the funeral home. A requiem Mass will be said for McCauley at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, April 17, 2015, at St. Mary's of the Visitation Catholic Church, 222 Jefferson St., Huntsville, AL. He will be buried next to his beloved wife Imogene Morgan McCauley at 2 p.m. Friday in Eva Cemetery, Eva, AL. (

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the Huntsville Public Library, the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, or The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Published in The Town Talk on Apr. 16, 2015
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