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Edwin Yoder

(North Carolina & Jesus 1956) (18 July 1934 - 30 November 2023)

Edwin M. Yoder Jr., a journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize for his stylish and erudite editorials at the now-defunct Washington Star and went on to become a columnist syndicated by The Washington Post Writers Group, died Nov. 30 at a retirement community in Chapel Hill, N.C. He was 89.

By the time he retired from regular column-writing in 1996, Mr. Yoder was “a certifiable journalistic fossil,” as he put it, “a survivor from the linear age whose tenure has extended into the garish and glamorous electronic era of television, talking heads, talk radio and the Internet.”

Mr. Yoder, a political moderate, got his start at newspapers in his home state of North Carolina, where he wrote editorials in support of the civil rights movement and evoked the region’s history and culture while channeling the work of W.J. Cash and C. Vann Woodward, two leading chroniclers of the South.

His work attracted the attention of Texas financier Joe L. Allbritton, the new owner of the Star, who was seeking to rejuvenate the scrappy afternoon newspaper when he hired Mr. Yoder in 1975 to oversee its editorial page.

Mr. Yoder joined a staff that included Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Mary McGrory, and in 1979 he was awarded a Pulitzer of his own, hailed by the prize committee for writing about “current national events with the confident understanding of the political specialist, the objectivity of the historian, and with masterful literary grace.”

Read the full obituary here.

We are grateful for his long service to the Rhodes community through his role as Class Leader.