WARREN E. LEARY PICTURED AT THE MAY 2015 JOURNAL-ISMS ROUNDTABLE. PHOTO BY JASON MICCOLO JOHNSON.
By: Richard Prince--"Journal-isms"
Warren E. Leary, a retired veteran of The New York Times and Associated Press who was one of the few African American science writers at a daily newspaper, died at his Washington, D.C., home Tuesday after a long illness. He was 74.
Leary covered scores of space shuttle flights and the International Space Station project, in addition to the federal science agencies, the Smithsonian museums, medical science, health and non-government policy organizations such as the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine.
In 2017, Leary was inducted into the elite “Chroniclers,” a program at NASA’s historic Kennedy Space Center in Florida that recognizes people who, the Center says, “helped spread the news of America’s space exploration.”
Leary focused on science journalism for more than 40 years. He joined a group of six journalists selected by a committee of working peers who cover the nation’s space program, Reginald Stuart wrote at the time for Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.
“The six, all retired and one deceased, were selected from a group of 20 candidates and boost the ranks of the ‘Chroniclers’ to 72, since the first induction in 1995 by Alan Shepard, the first American in space. “To qualify for consideration, a science journalist would have had to spend at least 10 years writing on the space exploration efforts at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Leary, the first Black journalist to be inducted, joins the elite group that includes news legends Walter Cronkite and Jules Bergman. . . .”
Leary was on the board of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing and a member and former officer of the National Association of Science Writers.
Jim Rubin, who worked with Leary at the Associated Press wrote on Facebook, “Warren was a total sweetheart. I sat near him in my early days in DC. I had to peer over the stack of documents surrounding his desk to converse. It was worth it.”
Another wrote, “I am so sad to hear this. I have so many memories from when I was a young reporter — I’d do my best to sit next to Warren . . . who was kind, encouraging, generous with his wisdom, and wickedly funny. I’ll miss him.”
Leary’s wife, veteran journalist Jeanne Saddler, told friends that the funeral will be Aug. 14, at St. Martin’s Catholic Church, 1908 N. Capitol Street NW, in Washington. Family hour at the church is scheduled from 11 a.m. to noon.
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