August 19, 2019

Ogden R. Reid, Herald Tribune Editor and Congressman, Dies at 93

Ogden R. Reid, Herald Tribune Editor and Congressman, Dies at 93

In his first three re-election runs, Mr. Reid had no opponent in the primaries and won the general elections by large margins, enhanced by the votes of many Democrats. But in 1970, with conservatives having gained strength among Westchester Republicans, he had a challenger for the nomination, whom he narrowly beat before again winning the general election easily.

In 1972, Mr. Reid announced he was quitting the Republican Party and would seek re-election as a Democrat because, he said, the Republican Party had “moved to the right.” He acknowledged that the prospect of another stiff primary challenge — and the likelihood of opposition in the party to his running for statewide office — also factored into his decision. Now as a Democrat, he won re-election again.

Two years later, rather than seek another House term, Mr. Reid entered the race for the Democratic nomination for governor. But he dropped out when he failed to gain substantial support beyond Westchester. After Representative Hugh L. Carey of Brooklyn won the Democratic nomination and the 1974 general election, he appointed Mr. Reid as his commissioner of environmental conservation.

But Mr. Reid resigned after 16 months because of differences with Mr. Carey over the handling of matters like General Electric’s discharge of the highly toxic chemical PCBs into the Hudson River. In 1983 he ran unsuccessfully for Westchester County executive.

Ogden Rogers Reid was born in New York City on June 24, 1925, a son of Ogden Mills Reid and Helen Rogers Reid. His father, who had taken over The Tribune in 1912 after the death of his father, Whitelaw Reid, presided over the 1924 acquisition of The Herald and the papers’ merger. After Ogden M. Reid died in 1947, his wife was The Herald Tribune’s president and dominant figure for several years.

Ogden R. Reid served in the Army as a paratrooper during World War II. In 1949 he graduated from Yale and married Mary Louise Stewart before joining The Herald Tribune, where he worked as a mail clerk, photographer and reporter before becoming vice president in 1953. Two years later, just 29 years old, he succeeded his older brother, also named Whitelaw Reid, as president and editor.

Ogden Reid’s efforts to halt the paper’s falling circulation and financial slide were unavailing, and in 1958 the Reids sold a controlling interest to John Hay Whitney, the United States ambassador to Britain. But Mr. Whitney was no more successful, and in 1966 the paper was merged with others in trouble into an amalgam called The World Journal Tribune. It closed the next year.

Besides his son David, Mr. Reid is survived by his wife, Mary Louise Reid; four other sons, Stewart, Michael, William and Ogden; a daughter, Elisabeth Taylor; and 19 grandchildren.

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