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Subject: Wesley Pruden, Washington Times editor, columnist

Dead at 83
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Date Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 11:57:39am

Wesley Pruden would have undoubtedly wanted to spend his final hours at his keyboard, deftly deflating the pompous, entitled and arrogant of the political establishment, and he came awfully close.

The venerable Washington Times editor, columnist and journalism institution was found dead Wednesday morning at his home, his passing coming hours after putting in a full day at the newsroom on New York Avenue in Northeast, where he had worked since 1982, four months after the newspaper’s founding.

He was 83. His remarkable career began 67 years ago as a teenage copy boy in Arkansas, making him among the few old-school newsmen whose sharp political acumen, elegant writing style, and keen sense of the absurd allowed him to remain as relevant in the digital age as he was in the days when the rumpled shirts of newsmen were splattered with ink.
After stepping down as editor-in-chief in 2008, Mr. Pruden assumed the title of editor emeritus, writing staff editorials, helping edit the Commentary section, and filing his twice-weekly column, “Pruden on Politics,” a must-read for decades in Washington, D.C.

He was named editor-in-chief emeritus in 2015. His final column ran Monday.

Born in Arkansas to one of the state’s earliest families, Mr. Pruden broke into the business as a tenth grader at Little Rock High School, running copy at night and later working as a sportswriter at the Arkansas Gazette. He was assistant state editor when he left in 1956 to join The Commercial Appeal in Memphis.

He was hired in 1963 by the old National Observer, a national weekly newspaper published by Dow Jones & Co., and covered national politics and the civil-rights movement before being assigned to cover the Vietnam War in 1965. For the next decade, he was a foreign correspondent based in Saigon, Hong Kong, Beirut and London.

Mr. Pruden launched his career at The Washington Times as chief political correspondent. The day after he was hired, he was assigned to cover the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. He was named assistant managing editor in 1983 and managing editor in 1985, according to his staff biography.

He won the 1991 H.L. Mencken Prize, awarded annually to the U.S. columnist who best captured “the fire and spirit” of the famous “sage of Baltimore.”

He was predeceased by his wife, the former Ann Fontaine Rice of Tillar, Arkansas.


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