‘Boys on the Bus’ Campaign Correspondent Walter R. Mears dies at 87


He worked for the student newspaper at Middlebury College, where he graduated in 1956 with a BA in English. His first job in AP was to close the Vermont State House.

Mr. Mears’ home in 1962 caught fire, her two children Pamela and Walter Jr. and his wife, Sally (Danton) Mears. The next two marriages to Joyce (Lund) Mears and Carroll Ann (Imle) Mears ended in divorce. His fourth wife, Frances (Rioux) Mears, is also a journalist at AP. dead cancer in 2019

After retiring in 2001, Mr. Mears taught journalism at the University of North Carolina and lived in Chapel Hill.

In addition to his daughter Susan from his marriage to Joyce Mears, Mr. Mears is survived by another daughter, Stephanie Stich, from this marriage; a brother, William; and five grandchildren.

Susan Mears said that the afternoon before she died, her daughters befriended her with a Methodist pastor who had known her for a long time. Describing Mr. Mears’ expertise in American politics, the pastor recalled a speech years ago in which he was surprised at how much Mr. Mears knew about the 1936 presidential election, when he was 1 year old.

While Mr. Mears appeared to be asleep, the pastor tried to remember the name of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Republican opponent.

Before any of Mears’ daughters had a chance to reply, they heard a familiar voice—softer and slower than they were used to, but with the speed, authoritative tone, and genuine command that had guided America’s leading political reporters for decades.

“Alf Landon,” said Mr. Mears.



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