Guy Friddell, longtime newspaper columnist for the Virginian-Pilot, dies at 92

July 21, 2013

Guy Friddell, a longtime newspaper columnist for the ­Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, died July 20 at a retirement community in Norfolk. He was 92.

The Virginian-Pilot, which published thousands of columns by Mr. Friddell during his ­almost-60-year newspaper career, reported his death and said he had dementia.

Mr. Friddell earned a wide and devoted following as he wrote for Norfolk and Richmond newspapers about politics, the pleasures of family, the wonders of nature, the genius of the Founding Fathers and his own misadventures in life. The Virginia Press Association’s top writing award is named in Mr. Friddell’s honor.

He also was a popular speaker, the author of eight books and a mentor to generations of journalists.

“Guy Friddell was a folk hero around these parts,” said Richard F. Barry III, former vice chairman of Landmark Media Enterprises, which owns the ­Virginian-Pilot.


This undated photo shows newspaper columnist Guy Friddell in Norfolk, Va. In his 60-year career, The Virginian-Pilot published thousands of columns by Friddell. He was 92 and died in his sleep July 19. (AP)

Marjorie Mayfield Jackson, a friend of Mr. Friddell’s for more than 20 years, said he set an example on how to live “full-out in generosity, in courage, in taking full delight in the good things about life.”

“He is, by nature, very gentle, but when something was important to him, he was ferocious and very, very stubborn,” said Guy R. “Rusty” Friddell III, the oldest of Mr. Friddell’s three sons. “He would not compromise. He wouldn’t let go. He’d just bash into it until he got it to yield.”

Guy Raymond Friddell Jr. was born in Atlanta and graduated from high school in Richmond.

His education at the University of Richmond was interrupted by military service during World War II. After the war, he received a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, then worked at a newspaper in Nyack, N.Y., before returning to Richmond, where he was publicity director for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

He joined the Richmond News Leader in 1950 and covered state politics. He would attend 23 national political conventions throughout his career and won a National Headliner Award for a series of articles about Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s historic tour of the United States in 1959.

Mr. Friddell joined the ­Virginian-Pilot in 1963 and soon became a popular columnist, musing on politics, nature and family life. He wrote his final column in 2006.

His wife, Virginia Pitt Friddell, died in 1993.

Survivors include three sons and eight grandchildren.

— From news services
and staff reports