- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 25, 2005

William J. Eaton, 74, Pulitzer winner

William J. Eaton, a Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent who covered Soviet Union during the period leading up to its dissolution, died Aug. 23 at a hospice in Potomac. He was 74.

Mr. Eaton, whose career in journalism spanned more than a half-century, had struggled with several medical problems for more than a year.

Mr. Eaton was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 1970 for his articles for the Chicago Daily News on the protracted Senate confirmation fight over President Nixon’s unsuccessful nomination of U.S. Circuit Judge Clement J. Haynsworth Jr. to the Supreme Court.

The son of a Chicago plasterer, Mr. Eaton was active in the American Newspaper Guild. Like several other hard-digging reporters of that era, he had the distinction of being on Mr. Nixon’s list of enemies.



As the Los Angeles Times bureau chief in Moscow from 1984 to 1988, as President Mikhail Gorbachev began a process that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mr. Eaton “would rather schmooze Russians in the street and in their homes” than pore over turgid government reports, a Times colleague, Stanley Meisler, recalled.

“He seemed to know more than a little about just about everything,” said Richard Cooper, who was the deputy bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times in Washington.

After retiring in 1994, Mr. Eaton became curator of the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program at the University of Maryland. He was a president of the National Press Club.

Mr. Eaton is survived by his second wife, Carole Kennon; a daughter, Sally Misare of Castle Rock, Colo., and two grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at the National Press Club on Oct. 1.

The family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1100, Arlington, VA 22209.

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