Tributes for John Seigenthaler

John Seigenthaler and Robert F. Kennedy

John Seigenthaler with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. (Courtesy John Seigenthaler)

Family, friends and colleagues of John Seigenthaler remember the civil rights and First Amendment icon who died July 11, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. Funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, July 14, at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville.

“We celebrate his life — his devotion to social justice, his advocacy of human rights, and his enduring loyalty to friends and family. He was proud of his hometown, Nashville, and grateful for the opportunity to share his energy and passion with this community.”

— John Michael Seigenthaler, John Seigenthaler’s son

“As a journalist, John did much more than bear witness to political and community affairs; he helped shape Nashville’s story, laying much of the groundwork for us to become the great city we are today. Personally, he has been an adviser and a friend. Our city will feel his absence.”

— Mayor Karl Dean, Nashville, Tenn.

“John Seigenthaler is one of my favorite people on the planet. I wrote ‘The Wind Done Gone,’ and Margaret Mitchell’s estate sued me for $10 million. I was so distraught. I remember being up in my bedroom and trying to figure out who to call. I called John Seigenthaler, and he told me to appeal to justice. He assured me that good and right people would be on the side of the book being published.”

— Alice Randall, author

“I knew John for more than 40 years, and I loved him.”

— Michael G. Gartner, principal owner of the Iowa Cubs; former Newseum Institute trustee

“John Seigenthaler was one of a kind. We both came from different worlds — geographic, professional, personal — but we had two things in common: Our joy of journalism and the fact that we both talked funny. RIP, good friend.”

— John Quinn, former USA Today editor; founder of the Newseum Institute’s Chips Quinn Scholars Program

“John was extremely supportive of me when I arrived at NPT 15 years ago, where he was already an established presence and host of “A Word on Words” for 25 years and counting. He had an invaluable influence on the way we conducted ourselves as journalists at NPT, and was always there to provide us guidance. He was also a gifted Nashville historian; always willing to be a resource for us on our Nashville history documentaries.”

— Beth Curley, president and CEO, Nashville Public Television

“John Seigenthaler was not just an amazing student of history, he made history.”

— Phil Currie, retired senior vice president/news, Gannett Co. Inc.

“John was one of those rare people who was even better than his great reputation. A man of great integrity, passion and compassion, his commitment to the First Amendment was unflagging. We’ve lost a very good man.”

— Ken Paulson, president, First Amendment Center; dean, College of Mass Communication, Middle Tennessee State University

“John Seigenthaler has been a cherished friend and trusted mentor since he hired me to work for him in 1971 at the then “Nashville Tennessean.” In all the years since, I have frequently turned to John for advice and counsel. And I found, as did so many others he mentored and inspired, that his wisdom, character and insight were always unique and invaluable. He commanded respect from all who knew him because of his integrity and character and because he was always a force for good in everything he did. Our state and our nation have lost a true giant.”

— Al Gore, former vice president of the United States

“John Seigenthaler — a true patriot, glorious friend and one huge, heroic, happy heart —who lived his life as Bobby hoped we all would: ‘To tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of the world.’”

— Ethel Kennedy, wife of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy

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