- - Wednesday, August 16, 2017

John W. “Jack” Eddinger, a former reporter for the Washington Evening Star and the Baltimore Evening Sun, and a spokesman for former Baltimore Mayor Thomas L.J. D’Alesandro III and U.S. Sen. Charles McCurdy Mathias Jr., died Wednesday of complications from pneumonia at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. He was 84.

Born in Fountain Hill, a suburb of Bethelem, Pennsylvania, Mr. Eddinger attended St. Ursula’s School and Bethlehem Catholic High School, where he was elected president of the Class of 1950 and school president. He graduated cum laude from Villanova University in 1956 and served as an enlisted man in the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1958.

Following his stint in the Army, he began his journalism career in 1958 as a reporter for his hometown newspaper, the Bethlehem Globe Times. He joined the staff of the Easton Express in Pennsylvania in 1960 before becoming a general assignment reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun in 1962.

Mr. Eddinger worked at the Evening Sun until 1964, then joined the staff of the Washington Evening Star in 1965 while studying for a master’s degree in liberal arts at Johns Hopkins University. In 1967 he became a science and medical writer for the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and associate editor of the Johns Hopkins Journal.

When Mr. D’Alesandro (whose sister is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi) became mayor of Baltimore in 1967, he appointed Mr. Eddinger as press secretary and spokesman, a position he held until 1971, when the mayor did not seek re-election.

Subsequently, Mr. Eddinger returned to the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, where he served as public relations director for the Maryland Regional Medical Program (a Johns Hopkins affiliate) and later as director of public affairs at JHMI.

In 1975 he was recruited by former Sen. Joseph D. Tydings of Maryland to manage the Tydings for Senate campaign in the 1976 Democratic primary election, which Mr. Tydings lost to then-Rep. Paul S. Sarbanes.

Following that primary defeat, Mr. Eddinger became chief spokesman for the successful Sarbanes for Senate campaign, which defeated the late Sen. J. Glenn Beall, the Republican incumbent.

In 1977 Mr. Eddinger joined the Capitol Hill staff of Mr. Mathias, Maryland Republican, as director of communications, a position he held until 1983. From 1984 to 1986 he served as a media consultant to the Senate campaign won by Democratic Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland.

In the years after leaving Mr. Mathias’ staff, Mr. Eddinger held public affairs positions in Washington with Sprint Communications, United Press International and the Kiplinger financial publishing company. He retired in 2000.

He served as a lecturer in American history at the Johns Hopkins University and Notre Dame of Maryland continuing education programs. He was also author of the novel “Inquisition,” which deals with the McCarthy period of the 1950s.

He also headed a pre-internet electronic start-up publishing venture, PressNet Systems Inc., a news and intelligence service for Congress and Fortune 500 companies. The business became operational but foundered in the 1992 technology bubble due to insufficient capitalization.

He was predeceased by his wife of 54 years, Mary Duncan Eddinger. He was the father of four children: Julia A. Eddinger, Mary Elizabeth Eddinger (died in childbirth) John D. Eddinger and Jennifer E. Eddinger of Baltimore; and he had two grandsons, Jack M. Eddinger and Aric J. Eddinger, both of Baltimore.

 


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