August 12, 2005: Headlines: Journalism: Obituaries: Friends: Newsday: Newspaper Editor James Edward DeCourcy dies in Connecticut

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Newspaper Editor James Edward DeCourcy dies in Connecticut

Newspaper Editor James Edward DeCourcy dies in Connecticut

James Edward DeCourcy insisted that three types of stories always be on the front page: drunken driving arrests; men and women entering military service; and people volunteering for the Peace Corps.

Newspaper Editor James Edward DeCourcy dies in Connecticut

James Edward DeCourcy, New England newspaper editor, dies at 93

August 12, 2005, 1:28 AM EDT

NEW LONDON, N.H. -- James Edward DeCourcy, longtime New England weekly newspaper editor known for his defense of civil liberties, bow ties, fastidious grammar and graceful writing, died Thursday in a New London nursing home. He was 93.

Ed DeCourcy, as he was known, retired in 1982 after 21 years as editor and publisher of the Newport Argus-Champion.

At the Argus-Champion he insisted that three types of stories always be on the front page: drunken driving arrests; men and women entering military service; and people volunteering for the Peace Corps.

DeCourcy was born in Darien, Conn., where he attended Darien High School, was editor of the school newspaper and a stringer for the Norwalk (Conn.) Hour.

He met his wife, the late Alice Carolyn Dyer, at the University of Maine in Orono, where he was editor of the Maine Campus. They graduated in 1934 and were married two years later. She died in 2003.

DeCourcy began his journalistic career after graduating from college as a stringer for the Bridgeport (Conn.) Post and the Boston (Mass.) Post and spent five years on Printing, a trade magazine in New York. During World War II he worked in public relations for the Bridgeport Brass Co. in Bridgeport, Conn.

He was editor of the Milford (Conn.) Citizen from 1949 to 1961 and earlier was editor of the Westport (Conn.) Town Crier.

DeCourcy was a member of the Community Newspaper Hall of Fame of the New England Press Association. He was a founding member and past president of NEPA as well as past president of the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors.

In 1971 he won ISWNE's International Golden Quill award for the best editorial of the previous year, was voted into the Academy of New England Journalists and received the Yankee Quill award of the Society of Professional Journalists. A decade later he received ISWNE's Eugene Cervi award for courage in journalism.

After he retired, DeCourcy continued to write columns for the Argus-Champion as well as other New England newspapers.

After his retirement, he was honored with the New Hampshire Governor's Award of Distinction in 1982. In 1986 he received the Bill of Rights award of the New England Civil Liberties Union Foundation and in 1988 was named Newport's Man of the year.

The University of Maine Alumni Association gave him the Alumni Career award in 1986 and the Black Bear award in 1979 for outstanding service to the university.

Survivors include a daughter, Jane (Mrs. Stephen Wong) of Berkeley, Calif.; son Thomas DeCourcy, of Kaunakakai, Hawaii; four grandchildren; brother Robert L. deCourcy of Washington, Conn.; and two cousins, Jack Frederick of Milford, Conn., and Mary Lou Levers of Kennebunkport, Maine.

Funeral arrangements are by the Newton-Bartlett Funeral Home in Newport.

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