Retired AP reporter Sid Moody dies at 83

By KAREN MATTHEWS April 19, 2012
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NEW YORK (AP) -- Retired Associated Press feature writer Sid Moody, who chronicled major events of the 20th century from the assassination of John F. Kennedy to the Iranian hostage crisis, has died. He was 83.

Moody's son Clarke Moody said Tuesday that his father died Sunday in at a hospital in Morristown, N.J. A longtime resident of Bernardsville, N.J., Moody spent his last years at a retirement community in Bernards Township, N.J.

He joined the AP in Newark, N.J. in 1956 and later moved to the Newsfeatures department in New York City. There Moody was part of a group known as the "Poets' Corner" who supplied feature copy for newspapers around the world.

During his almost four decades at the AP, Moody covered such events as the Warren Commission report on Kennedy's assassination, the trial of Lee Harvey Oswald's murderer Jack Ruby, the Detroit race riots, the My Lai massacre, North Korea's capture of the spy ship USS Pueblo, the kidnapping of a bus full of school children in Chowchilla, Calif. and the mass suicide of Jim Jones' followers in Guyana.

Moody wrote or co-authored several books including the best-selling "The Torch is Passed" on the Kennedy assassination and "444 Days: The American Hostage Story" on the Iranian hostage crisis. He also wrote World War II books including: "Pearl Harbor, 50th Anniversary Special Edition" and "War Against Japan." He retired from the AP in 1994.

Clarke Moody said his father's career almost ended before it began.

Sid Moody contracted polio during a motorcycle trip around war-torn Europe with his cousin and college buddies in 1949, when he was 21. He came down with full-blown polio while returning home to the U.S. aboard the Cunard liner R.M.S. Parthia.

With no medication for polio on board the vessel, crew members rowed a lifeboat into the remnants of a hurricane to retrieve parachuted medicine flown from New York, Clarke Moody said. Moody survived but was never again able to lift his left arm above his shoulder.

Moody was an avid sailor who combined business with pleasure by covering the America's Cup yacht races for the AP from 1962 until 1987.

Usually accompanied by his wife, Patricia Anne, Moody over the years sailed around the globe to places like Grenada in the West Indies to Campobello Island in Canada's Bay of Fundy.

He also was an amateur trombonist who claimed to be the third best in the state of New Jersey "because I have heard the other two."

Moody was born in Plainfield, N.J. and graduated from Williams College.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years; two sons, Clarke of Whitehouse Station, N.J. and Michael of Montclair, N.J.; three granddaughters and one sister.

The family is suggesting memorial contributions to the Williams College Annual Giving Office, 75 Park St., Williamstown, Mass.

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