William J. Coughlin, an author and international journalist who retired to Southport, NC twelve years ago, passed away in Bolivia, NC on May 8, 2014 of natural causes. He was 91. Mr. Coughlin, who was a resident of both Southport and County Kerry, Ireland was an award-winning writer and editor. While executive editor at the Washington (NC) Daily News Mr. Coughlin led the team that was awarded the 1990 Pulitzer Gold Medal for Public Service, journalism’s highest honor. His Pulitzer accomplishment capped a host of other professional awards and recognitions. Mr. Coughlin was born in Washington, D.C. on May 29, 1922. He was a Fulbright Scholar, Stanford University Fellow and taught at George Washington and Francis Marion Universities. After service as a P-38 fighter pilot in World War II, Mr. Coughlin got an M.A. from Stanford and entered a lifelong career as a newspaper and magazine editor, foreign correspondent and author. He covered Europe, the Soviet Union, Central America, the United Nations and world leaders such as Nixon, Khrushchev, Reagan and Gorbachev. He was a war correspondent in Southeast Asia, bureau chief in New Delhi and the Middle East, and editor of a major national aerospace publication. He also served as a foreign policy advisor to a U.S. Senator. He served for five years as managing editor of the Wilmington (NC) Star News. Mr. Coughlin published two books, Conquered Press and Beyond the Seas, and completed a third, WHEELS UP! A Revisionist’s Up Close and Personal Look at the Cold War, which he had hoped to see published in 2014. Mr. Coughlin is survived by his first wife, Geraldine Coughlin of Seattle, WA; his second wife, Patricia (Frank) Conlon of Wilmington, NC; his children Kevin (Sandra) Coughlin of Wilmington, NC, Kerry Coughlin of Seattle, WA and Kelly (Brian) Webb of Park City, UT; his grandchildren Healy (Charlie) Martin of Phoenix, AZ, Casey Coughlin of Wilmington, NC and Tobias Coughlin-Bogue of Seattle, WA; his great granddaughter Alyssa Coughlin of Wilmington; his longtime caregiver Cindy (Allen) Hodgson of Southport, NC and Cindy’s granddaughter Reagan.
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