Former NYT columnist, author Tom Wicker dies

November 25, 2011 - 7:00 PM

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Tom Wicker, who gained professional prominence while covering President John F. Kennedy's assassination for The New York Times and went on to serve as the paper's Washington bureau chief and a columnist, has died at his home in Rochester, Vt. He was 85.

Wicker's wife, Pamela Wicker, said her husband had been in failing health and died of an apparent heart attack Friday morning.

Born June 18, 1926, Wicker grew up in poverty in Hamlet, N.C. He wanted to be a novelist before going into journalism when his early books didn't catch fire.

After working for newspapers in North Carolina, he got a job with the Times. He was in Kennedy's motorcade in Dallas when the president was killed.

The liberal Wicker was a longtime columnist for the paper, and wrote 20 books.