eastern healFeuerherd, NCR editor in chief and publisher, dies

I am very sorry for your loss, and Mr. Feuerherds milys loss. I enjoyed reading his reports, and I always enjoyed every issue of NCR.

Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with his wife Becky and children Zachary, Bridget and Benjamin, his sister and brothers, and all of his friends and colleagues, particulalry in the NCR mily.

My prayerful remembrance and very sincere condolences to Joes mily, to his friend and colleague Arthur Jones and to the entire NCR mily staff. Life is changed not taken away; but the sudden change still leaves an empty spot in our lives.

It was a brief visit before his diagnosis.

It was the teenage wedding that defied the odds, a romance that endured. Feuerherd had given up the horses and won what he wanted, but he and Becky pulled off a final trifecta: Zachary in 1986; Bridget in 1988, today a recent marketing graduate with her CPA mothers flair for numbers; and Benjamin in 1990, now a junior in history at St. Francis University, Brooklyn, N.Y. It was a fine romance that would see Becky clamber across their king-sized bed without kneeling on any of the nasal oxygen tubes that were keeping Joe breathing, to kiss him on the forehead, and be kissed on the forehead, before she went back downstairs to head for the grocery, the pharmacy for more drugs, or just to the kitchen. It endured as the mily, of an evening, carried the dinner upstairs and had their nightly mily meal around the bed. Joe and Becky knew the odds with cancer in the Feuerherd mily were uncertain.

My heart is filled with sorrow as I read of Joes death…while I knew it was coming, the pain of loss is great..I did not know Joe well but I did know

I saw Joe at his home several weeks ago. While the illness had taken its toll on him, the sensibilites of his Long Island sense of humor had not diminished, nor had his intellect – as sharp and insightful as ever – as we discussed the most recent issues of our ith in the public square. He was still an impact at NCR, most recently with his idea for the NCR fundraising Webathon. Joe loved his ith. In living it, he made eastern healFeuerherd, NCR editor in chief and publisher, diesthe world a better place. His journalism, intellect, wit, courage, and most important, his friendship will be greatly missed.

My prayers for Joes mily and friends, that God will console them in this difficult time. And prayers especially for Joe, that he finds peace, joy and reconciliation in a new life with God.

A great loss to the Catholic community. Joe was an astute observer of the religious world. His work has set the gold standard for Catholic journalism. May he rest in peace.

The milies on both sides were New Yorkers, but the newsing genes came from the Dolans. Grandther Peter Dolan was an editor at the old New York Sun. His son, Peter, also became a newsman — as did Joes brothers, Rick and Peter.

May the peace and love of Christ be with him and his mily.

Though my interactions with Joe were infrequent, they were always positive and helpful, just as they are with all of you. You mirror his integrity, insightfulness and professionalism. A fine legacy to carry NCR into the future supported by his wisdom and courage, just as Joe has begun his journey into eternity. My heart goes out to his mily, his friends and all who knew and respected this fine man.

What a guy! No wonder NCR is such a terrific publication. I sense that he will rise again in his children. May all who loved him and learned from him be comforted and challenged to do as he did………make the world a better place!! Peace and comfort.

This is such sad news and a great loss for the Catholic community. I will keep Joes mily, colleagues and friends in my prayers. Peace.

For Joe the race is over. The romance lingers on.

To Becky and his children and to his NCR mily, you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Mr. Feuerherd was a Catholics Catholic whose memory will live on both through his mily and NCR. His was a life truly and fully well-lived and a beacon of hope to others. Rest in peace.

In 1991, housing issues still beckoning, Feuerherd left NCR for the Montgomery County, Md., Housing Opportunities Commission, where in 1997 an element of Feuerherd mily history repeated itself. The commissions executive director, Bernie Tetreault, described how, after 24 years, when I was unceremoniously fired from HOC, Joe was the community relations officer, a senior staff position that reported directly to me. When the board asked him to spread lsehoods about me and my departure he refused, and resigned. For that the staff nicknamed him Saint Joe.

A life well-lived, indeed, and complete. We certainly could have wished for more time, but we could not have wished for what time there was to have been better spent.

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Thank you, Joe. And thank you, Arthur.

And may God comfort and console his mily and friends, all those he left behind.

A few teenage years later, in the summers away from studying history at The Catholic University of America in Washington, Feuerherd worked as a counselor at a Pennsylvania summer camp for handicapped children. As did his brother David. As did Rebecca Bartron from small-town Montrose, Pa. Joe and Becky were soon in love, but Feuerherd was still only a 19-year-old student. So he did what hed done before, which was play the horses. His trifecta hit, gave him a several-hundred-dollar payout. He then brought Bartron to New York for dinner at the Four Seasons, a proposal and an engagement ring.

After two years at Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, the young Feuerherd transferred to Garden City High School, played basketball, struggled with math and science, and excelled in the humanities. The parents worried about him when he headed to the wilds of Washington, D.C., as a freshman in history at Catholic University, also attended by brother David. In political Washington, Joe was in his element; what he needed was entre. In 1984, wet-behind-the-ears (his own words) college junior Feuerherd became a National Catholic Reporter Washington intern.


I was privileged to have Joe as an undergraduate student in my class on Comtemporary Moral Issues, at Catholic University. May he rest in peace — and may his mily find comfort in the knowledge that he touched many lives.

The lure of NCR, however, remained. In late 2008 Feuerherd became NCR publisher and editor in chief. His output and range since that time speaks for itself. As publisher he crisscrossed the country; as editor he firmly and generously crossed swords with many public figures on contentious issues, and heartily applauded others. He had strong opinions, but a moderate approach; he was a centrist who heard people out.

Joe was a kind man who didnt let kindness get in the way of telling a story he thought needed to be told. Ill pray for him.

His work was always among the best things Ive read this week.

Thank you for all you have done and written to help me stay Catholic. Like Therese, may you keep sending us roseastern health vices from heaven as we stumble forward in these challenging times in our Church.

Bill DAntonio

It was truly a pleasure to have known Joe. Though our paths didnt cross often, when they did our encounters were always lovely. Joe was a good man and Ill cherish the few conversations we had. He was a real common-grounder and we had much in common, which made our few disagreements always polite.

Joe was truly a hero to the survivors of ual abuse by clergy by NCR one of the few Catholic publications to run the Story, stay with the Story, and never tire of the Story. Where other media outlets enjoyed the sensational, then tired of the relentless new developments, while they eschewed in-depth and ongoing coverage, NCR was there. Much of that was certainly down to Joe.

Meanwhile, hed decided on a longer-term goal: He would become a historian. He enrolled in American Universitys graduate history program to work with Professor Allan Lichtman, a historian and authority on quantitative methods. (Using quantitive methods, Lichtman early, confidently and publicly predicted Barack Obamas presidential victory — and now confidently predicts his re-election.) Historian Feuerherd knew he had found an enticing niche. Lichtman said Feuerherd was not your typical student — he had a life of accomplishment behind him. I was tremendously impressed at how committed he was at this stage in his life to pursuing a career in academia as a historian. He had a great feel for history, and it was not easy to blend his practical political experience with historical issues. His essays were first-class. I thought his political instincts were right on the money.

What a tremendous loss to NCR, the church and to me, as one of his employees. But most of all to his mily, who I am holding in prayer. May you rest in peace, Joe. Amen.

It was a joy, he wrote. I was raised in a journalistic tradition. Still, it came as a revelation that a future could be made interviewing cardinals and members of Congress, peace activists and conservative supporters of the contras, mandatory celibacy opponents and Latin Mass advocates. In January 1985 he was bumped up to political afirs reporter at the princely sum of $100 a week, and spent more time writing and reporting for NCR than on my history studies. Most of his professors were reading his NCR copy, resulting in some generous grading.

Following is an appreciation of Feuerherd written by Arthur Jones, who as Washington correspondent hired Feuerherd as an editorial intern in 1984. Their professional and personal lives were closely entwined since.

Our prayers are with his mily.

My deepest sympathies to the entire NCR mily on the great loss of your colleague and dear friend Joe Feuerherd. NCR has always been a bright beacon of light in these post-modern times of angst and concern for our beloved Catholic Church. I thank God for the precious gift that was Joe Feuerherd who kept that light burning ever-brightly. May Gods gracious peace rest upon his mily and friends.

Editors Note: For more photos of Feuerherd, take a look at the slideshow below. Well be adding more from our archives over the afternoon.

In a country where journalists and public servants are routinely vilified, this obituary and story of one of those news journalists puts to lie the critics of the Fourth Estate. I thank God that young men and women still want to enter this profession. May they all have the talent and integrity of Joseph Feuerherd. Thanks again, Arthur Jones, for sharing your memories.

Good Night sweet prince and may a choir of angels sing thee to your rest. Joesph you will be missed by all of us who read the Catholic Reporter daily, and my deepest sympathies to the mily I will keep you in my prayers.

Blessings offered, and thank you for the many blessings received. You Easter us all, Joe – forever and ever.

The painstaking research involved in both stories is incredible. No other NCR investigative staff matches his independence and skill. What a remarkable legacy.

In addition to press secretary work, as Olinger became chief of staff, Feuerherd took over Olingers work on the House Budget Committee — Downey was a key member. As Downey became more interested in welre reform, Feuerherd hit his stride and consolidated what became his style when ced with any topic: He read deeply, did the research, and in this case Joseph Calino Jr.s Americas Health Care Revolution: Who Lives? Who Dies? Who Pays? became his bible. But Joe was a news guy, said Olinger, interested in the way things got covered, the way stories were pitched.

The Feuerherds of Garden City, Long Island, were numerous, and Joe was the near-caboose of a large rambunctious mily, said brother Peter. Victor and Lillian (Dolan) Feuerherd were parents to Victor (Rick to the mily), born 1952; Elizabeth, 1954; Peter, 1957; David, 1958; Stephen, 1961; Joe, 1962; Mary, 1966, who died as an innt; and Matthew, 1967. Joe was in charge of the caboose, with Matt, who is deaf, and five years younger, tagging along. Stephen died at age 3 of leukemia. Among the storms Joe and Becky weathered was the fear that son Zachs leukemia mirrored Stephens. It didnt: Zach is a cancer survivor. He is also campaign manager for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

In my experience of him, Joe exhibited the verve of a journalist dedicated to seeking the truth and the graciousness of a humanitarian, bent on getting to the sometimes unsavory bottom of appearances without a shred of self-righteousness. He could accept the way things were without losing his impish humor. Arthur has portrayed a wonderful man who demonstrated that the truth indeed makes us free.

Well done, good and ithful servant. You shared the richness of your leadership with us, and we are the better for it. Rest now in Peace.


Thank you, Arthur, for a most touching and fitting tribute to a truly wonderful person. I often had contact with Joe during my years at the USCCB and found him not only engaging and knowledgeable in his interviews, but objective and truthful in his reporting. I pray that Gods grace will bring comfort to his mily and the NCR mily. Thank you!

For about 20 years, my ther always gave a gift subscription to NCR for Christmas. He also lost his battle with cancer last April. I can empathize with the sense of loss you all must be feeling.

With peace and love,

How fortunate we were to share that afternoon and evening with him.

One of Feuerherds Long Island high school friends was John Moyers, son of Bill Moyers, previously Lyndon B. Johnsons press secretary. (Feuerherd loved engaging Moyers senior in political discussions.) At the time Feuerherd was preparing to graduate from Catholic University, John Moyers was interning in the Capitol Hill office of Long Island Congressman Tom Downey (at that point the youngest member of Congress, elected before he was old enough to be seated, with his legalizing birthday coming just before he was sworn in).

John Olinger was also on Downeys staff and recalls young Moyers saying he had a Long Island friend interested in working on the Hill. Downeys press secretary had recently left; Feuerherd became the new press secretary. Said Olinger, We had press guys who always wanted to get Tom national press. Tom could get his own national press, the job really was getting the weekly column written for the weeklies, handling the local stuff, the local firemen and Great South Bay and oysters — Joe understood that mentality. He also understood the role of the weekly, and every village had one, all owned by a few people who were not, primarily, our friends.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him. May he rest in peace.

Father, in your loving Mercy remember Joseph Feuerherd with Justice. Asked in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.

To Becky and all the mily, my deepest sympathy in your loss of Joes physical presence. I, too, know well the journey of losing a husband to cancer that, early on, was misdiagnosed and took him home to God much too soon. Time and ith never quite fill the big hole in your heart. But may you, too, one day discover that he is as close as your heartbeat. And still cares deeply: for each of you and for the Church he served so well. Rest in peace, Joe.

May the Christian community continue to have such saints among us to keep us aware.

The kid climbing over the fence to get into the Belmont Park racetrack in Long Island, N.Y., was betting first on not getting caught, next on finding some adult whod place his bet for him, finally, that hed win. And every now and again, Joseph Anthony Feuerherd, age 13, did bring home the proceeds from his exacta. From then on, whenever he had a bit of money in his pocket and couldnt get into the park, there was always the local off-track betting office.

[Arthur Jones is a past publisher and editor of NCR.]

Thank you Arthur, for a terrific piece on one of my vorite people. Joe was a wonderful guy, and a great asset to NCR. He was witty, funny and bright. Weve stayed in touch, off and on, over the years, and I always admired him for his commitment to mily and church.

Our condolences to the entire Feuerherd mily. We regret we wont have the opportunity to meet such a well-loved and respected uncle of our new son-in-law. Our thoughts are with you as you navigate these trying times.

Joes dad, Vic, served in World War II, and became an accountant and corporate executive, latterly with SCM, the typewriter company. In a mous Feuerherd mily incident involving an inmous situation, Vic and Lil Feuerherd moved lock, stock and mily to South Dakota, where Vic had been named chief financial officer of a local corporation. When the company expected Vic to cook the books, he promptly quit and, jobless, moved the mily back East, initially into Grandma Lillian Dolans Brooklyn brownstone. There were some tough times in Brooklyn and then in Garden City until the mily got back on its feet.

When I read Cancers unknown country I loved this man right away. He wrote so beautifully and lovingly about his cancer, not sorry for himself, but touched by the doctor, his wife, his kids. I am saddened by his death, but happy that this good man had a good and productive life, that he made a difference and brought light to the world.

I do not agree at all with NCRs ideology. The obit was very touching, and despite ideological differences, he seems like a truly good man. I shall pray for the repose of his soul and for a mily that is so obviously remarkablely close.

Typically, Feuerherd developed a keen understanding of House of Representatives operations, knew the players and cared about the institution. He became the political junkie he would remain or, as Olinger said, the kid from Long Island became a Washingtonian. Feuerherd took Downeys office into a difficult field, housing, and became a minor authority on housing and its interplay with poverty, unemployment and transportation. He applied the Long Island housing issues to the larger national canvas and would twice make career moves into the housing field. Larger policy questions became a major piece of his critical apparatus, said Olinger, but once he and Becky started their mily that became for him the focal point of everything.

Submitted by Stephanie Niedringhaus, NETWORK Communications Coordinator (not verified) on May. 26, 2011.

May he ride the wings of peace and may his mily know the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

May Joe rest in peace and rise in glory! May God grant comfort to his mily, friends, and professional colleagues. Well done, good and ithful servant.

Rest in peace. You are already deeply missed.

I remember Joe as the NCR reporter in Washington, DC while I served as a lobbyist with NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby. He was particularly humble and thorough as he interviewed me for a story on how the ith community was involved in the issue of entering the war on Iraq. I will miss his excellent contributions to our global understanding of ith and politics.

Feuerherds story about Deal Hudson, exposing the truth of his abusive background, was masterful. Likewise, his dogged research about the young Italian scam artist Rafello Follieri, who hired Sodanos nephew as a vice president, and promoted his firm as a buyer of church properties.

This is such sad news. Joe was such an inspiration to me and to so many others. Thank you Arthur for this wonderful remembrance.

My wife, Becky has, at least temporarily, given up a good career, and forsaken more than I can describe to fight with bill collectors, oversee medication management, negotiate with doctors, and tend to my wants and needs. All out of unconditional love. Thank you, Becky.

Arthur Jones, what a bulous piece youve written about an absolutely wonderful guy. Im another of Joes former Congressional colleagues in the Downey office. In those days we saw Becky regularly, met Zach soon after his birth and saw him frequently. We stayed in touch but not as often as we should, but when Joes office moved across the street from ours for a short while a few years ago we had an almost daily visit. But you dont need to see somebody every day to miss them when theyre gone, because Joe was one of those people who made the world a better place and who made you feel better about the world because he was in it. I hope his children know what a very special guy he was and how lucky they were to have him in their lives.

eastern healFeuerherd, NCR editor in chief and publisher, dies,Feuerherd died at 8:41 a.m. Eastern time at the Montgomery Hospices Casey House in Rockville., Md. His mily was at his side.

Feuerherd, in a much-read article on his cancer (Cancers unknown country NCR, Oct. 21, 2010, ), thanked our children [who] have spent nights in hospital rooms, sterilized and cleaned the home front, and been there whenever weve needed them. Not sure where all that came from, but were delighted its there.

And thank you, Arthur, for this fine tribute to a fellow giant of a Christian journalist.

I did not know Mr. Feuerherd, only through the NCR publication. Over the years I have relied on NCR and its contributors to keep me informed about the RC Church, especially the hopeful stories. He was way to young….my condolences to his wonderful mily, wife and children. May he rest in peace.

Steve Krueger

I was so honored and felt so blessed when Joe invited me to write for NCR and NCROnline. May he rest in peace. He will be missed in so many ways.

Joe and Becky did make a final trip together a couple of months ago, nasal oxygen tubes and all, to see son Ben installed at St. Francis in the National History Honor Society.

It is not the norm, in an obituary, to give the decedent the penultimate lines, but what the heck, this is the NCR mily.

My deepest sympathy for Joes mily and for the staff at NCR. Joe spent the remainder of his life in support of his readers and for the Catholic ith which he loved. What a wonderful gift to all of us.

Very sad news to hear of Joes death. I met him a few times over the years and he was always very gracious. Condolences to his wife and children and his NCR mily.

(For those unmiliar with print journalism lore, reporters wrote -30- at the conclusion of their news copy. It is used still, at the National Press Club, to mark a journalists death.)

Having lost my mother to cancer just a year ago, I know first-hand the bravery and heart that folks have who fight that disease.

That was the professional Feuerherd, but his attributes there were simply magnified on a personal level with colleagues and friends: a kind, unflappable, caring person; a decent man, in every definition of the term, one with a quietly wicked sense of humor.

Printer-friendly versionSend to friendPDF versionJoseph Feuerherd, NCR editor in chief and publisher, died this morning after an 18-month battle with cancer. He was 48. Funeral arrangements are pending.

At the mily table, journalist-to-be Joe was a listener. He took everything in: all the discussions and arguments among his older brothers and sister and parents. He adored his ther, and adopted his reading habits and preoccupation with politics — the precociously political 13-year-old knew the blow-by-blow of Mo Udalls 1976 presidential campaign. A few years after that, teenager Feuerherd decided he was old enough to drive (he wasnt) and took the mily car for a night out with the boys at the beach. He was discovered only because a neighbor with a gun saw a burglar (Joe) entering the Garden City house through a window and called the police.

Joe was an extraordinary journalist. He captured the essence of a story with precision and clarity. His passion was politics and he reported irly about the important intersection between ith and politics. We will miss his integrity, commitment and skillful craft.

I never knew Joe personally, but his brother Peter and I were colleagues in Rockville Centre Diocese for some years — Peter at The Long Island Catholic, I at Family Ministry. My condolences to Peter and the entire mily for the loss of a very fine man.

By 1988, after a stint as a weekly economics report editor, Feuerherd was back at NCR, as Washington bureau chief. Steve Askin had been bureau chief when Feuerherd was an intern. Askin described most journalists as pretty acerbic and most interns as generally brash, full of themselves and really ignorant. Joe was calm and sat down at the desk and started work as if that was what he was there to do. Later, when Feuerherd was bureau chief and Askin had left journalism for activism with the Service Employees International Union, Feuerherd did the best, most precise reporting on what I was spending my life on — abuses of workers in Catholic hospitals, Askin said. Later, with a colleague, Askin tried to persuade Feuerherd to work with the union, but we realized we could not get him from the position of observer to activist. He was suited from day one to being the journalistic observer, the guy passionate about what he was writing. That was his trade.

Joe Feuerherd was unknown to me personally, but I prized his outstanding research and writing, breaking stories of great import. What a beautiful tribute Arthur Jones offers. Condolences to his wife, children, and colleagues.

I didnt know Joe but this beautifully written obit made me wish I had. The description of Joes commitment to his mily, to God and to his profession brought tears to my eyes. I will pray for his wife and mily, his colleagues, his friends and all of those who were touched by this special man.

This is so very sad… however, Joes was a life well lived and loved. He will be greatly missed.

Requiescat in pace!

Joe, you continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Thank You for all you have done for Our Church throughout your young (and too short) life and for

Like his dad before him, Feuerherd now needed a job to support his wife and mily. He became a newsletter editor — until he returned as NCR Washington bureau chief for another stint (2002-2007). Hed never stopped writing for the ; hed provided political analysis, editorial drafts, and book reviews.

Joe was a gentleman and will be greatly missed. May he rest in peace.

I consider it a privilege to have know Joe, if only briefly, and to have been able to swap stories about our respective newsletter experiences. He was truly a giant in Catholic journalism, and Arthur has done him proud.

What a shock. His mily can take solice in the ct that he leaves behind an objective, truthful and dependable news — something that is hard to find in the Catholic press these days. May he RIP.

Prayers and condolences for his wife and mily.

He shared the story of NCR with us and his love of journalism and the news itself were evident. We were inspired by the breath and width of his knowledge and entertained by his humor.

It seems like yesterday we had a visit from Joe and Becky. They stopped by Emmaus on a trip to the West Coast, we are nestled in the Valley of the Moon, wine country, California.

Thank you, Arthur. I am saddened to tears at the news even though I was aware of its immenence. He was an enthusiastic supporter of our fifth survey of American Catholics,which has just been completed. We will be reporting our findings in an October issue of NCR. We will do our best to have our story lines meet Joes expectations.

This is without a doubt the most beautiful obituary Ive ever read. It brought tears to my eyes, as it was so reminiscent of my late husbands death–so many similarities. I pray the good Lord will give Becky the strength he gave me, and Joe will be added to the long list of my departed friends, for whom I pray daily. May Gods peace be with the Feuerherd mily.

Dear Joe,

Becky, a math and special education teacher, had returned to teaching, and was also now a certified public accountant. For Feuerherd once more it was housing issues that called: the Washington-based Council of Large Public Housing Authorities. Tetreault provided an insight: As community relations officer, Joe had had the unenviable job of meeting with neighbors and neighborhood groups that were unhappy that we were socially and racially integrating their neighborhoods. We placed public housing residents in scattered site individual units, Tetreault said, and Feuerherd, with his calm and kind demeanor, did an admirable job in helping the homeowners accept these very acceptable residents. Feuerherd was once more drafting local knowledge on a larger canvas.

Hey Joe, enjoy exchanging the theological war stories with that other great writer, Paul (Formerly known as Saul) of Tarsus. Rest in Peace!

Thank you for this moving tribute to a fine man and a splendid journalist. I didnt know him personally, but I felt I knew him well after reading it. My prayers and sympathy go out to his mily and the NCR mily.

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