Jack Germond, columnist and commentator, dies at 85

1024GERMOND-7Jack Germond, “The McLaughlin Group” staple and longtime political columnist for The Sun of Baltimore, passed away this morning at his home along the Shenandoah in Kabletown. He was 85 and had just finished his first novel.

A fan of horse racing, Germond first came to Jefferson County to visit the Charles Town Races and later retired here with his wife, Alice Germond.

When the Spirit profiled him in October, he said he found horse racing the perfect past time. “It’s like duplicate bridge – it occupies your mind fully,” he said then. “It’s refreshing. For years, it was my only hobby.”

He later contributed political columns to the paper.

Decades ago during the Nixon Administration, the Boston native learned to read racing forms from NBC White House correspondent Richard Valeriani as a way to pass time on Election Day. “Before the returns started coming in, as reporters we all had time to kill,” he told the Spirit then. “I got hooked.”

Germond began his career in journalism in the 1950s in New York following a stint in the U.S. Army. A onetime Gannett newspaper bureau chief in Washington, he also enjoyed the role of political commentator and wrote from a perch he shared with colleague Jules Witcover. Germond was also a longtime TV presence, appearing for 15 years on “The McLaughlin Group.”

In an email sent this morning to the Spirit with the subject line “Jack’s Gone,” Alice Germond noted that her husband of a quarter-century had just finished his first novel, “A Small Story for Page Three.” It focuses on a reporter investigating political intrigue and is being published online Friday.

He also wrote two memoirs, “Fat Man in a Middle Seat” in 1999 and “Fat Man Fed Up” five years later.

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