JOHN M. COURIC, DEAD AT 90
Former Dublin Man Was Respected Journalist
John Martin Couric, father of network news journalist and host, Katie Couric, and a former resident of Dublin, died at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Virginia on Wednesday, June 22, 2011 from complications due to Parkinson's Disease. Couric began his journalistic career as a general reporter for the Dublin Courier Herald while he was attending Dublin High School. Couric went on to a forty-year career in journalism and business before retiring in 1985.
Born in Brunswick, Georgia on August 28, 1920, Couric was the son of John Martin Couric, Sr. and Wildie Hibbler. The senior Couric was a cotton merchant and exporter. The Courics lived on Bellevue Avenue in a home located adjoining the current location of Bubba's Tire Center. After his graduation from Dublin High School, Couric worked for his university's publications and graduated in 1941 from Mercer University in Macon, where he later worked as a reporter for the Macon Telegraph.
John Couric joined the U.S. Navy during World War II. He served in both the Mediterranean and the Pacific and participated in the invasions of Sicily, Tarawa, Peleliu, the Philippines, and Okinawa. Couric continued to serve his country in the Naval Reserves, retiring in 1965 with the rank of lieutenant commander
As a political reporter, Couric covered the always fascinating Georgia politics and the activities under the golden dome in the state capital for the Atlanta Constitution. He joined the United Press wire service in the late 1940s and continued to cover politics. In 1948, John was named head of the United Press office in Tallahassee, Florida. Among his most heralded reports were his coverage of Georgia governor Herman Talmadge and a 1949 hurricane which ravaged the east coast of Florida.
In 1951, Couric was assigned to the Washington Bureau of the United Press. He began to write more about national events, including Senate Majority Leader and later President, Lyndon B. Johnson's heart attack. Couric eventually became Assistant News Editor.
He was an editor with United Press before leaving his position to enter the field of public relations in 1957. He worked with the National Association of Broadcasters as a Chief Writer and Manager of News and Publications, a role in which he supervised newspaper, magazine and on-the-air programs. In 1963, Couric, a member of President John F. Kennedy's Committee on the Employment of Handicapped and a committee of the National Commission on Community Health Services, was promoted to Vice President of Public Relations for the NAB. Couric also served in a position with the American Health Care Association. After six years of service with the Food and Drug Administration, John Couric retired in 1985.
Couric was a member of the National Safety Council, American Heart Association, American Nursing Home Association, National Press Club, Sigma Delta Chi Professional Journalistic Society, Public Relations Society of America, Broadcasters Promotions Association, Washington Trade Association Executives, and countless other organizations, boards, and committees.
Mr. Couric received a master's degree in communications from American University in 1968 and was an adjunct professor of journalism and public relations in the university's graduate program and the University of Maryland twenty-seven years.
Couric, who reportedly gave up a promising career in print journalism for public relations, encouraged his daughter Katie to go into broadcast journalism because it was more exciting than print journalism.
During her commencement address at Mercer University in 1996, Katie Couric reminisced about her father and his influence on her life and career. "I am in awe of my father's generation. And I am in awe of my father. He is a man of intelligence, compassion, gentility, humor, integrity and honor. Some parents tell their children to do as I say, not as I do. My sisters, my brother and I did as he said, but we also became the people we are by watching him every day," she said. "Recently, when my dad was getting a prescription filled, the pharmacist called out his name and asked, 'Are you Katie Couric's father?' 'No,' he said, 'she's my daughter.' I am indeed and for that I am lucky, grateful and proud. Thirty-six years from now, if my daughters can say the same thing, that will be the true measure of my success."
Mr. Couric is survived by his wife, Elinor H. Couric, and children Clara Batchelor of Brookline, Mass., Katie Couric of New York, NY, and John M. Couric, Jr. of Arlington, Va. His oldest daughter, former Virginia State Senator Emily Couric, preceded him in death in October 2001.