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Patrick Earl McCauley, often known as Pat McCauley (June 30, 1927 – April 12, 2015), was an American journalist who from 1966 to 1994 was the editor of The Huntsville Times in Huntsville, Alabama. No other editor of The Huntsville Times served longer than did McCauley.

Patrick Earl McCauley
Patrick McCauley of AL.jpg
Born(1927-06-30)June 30, 1927
DiedApril 12, 2015(2015-04-12) (aged 87)
Resting placeEva Cemetery in Eva, Alabama
Alma mater
Years active1949–1994
Spouse(s)Imogene Morgan McCauley (married 1950–2004, her death)


After graduation from Tulane University in New Orleans, McCauley moved in 1949 to Huntsville in far northern Alabama, where he worked for five years as a reporter in the old Times Building at Green and Clinton streets under editor Reese Thomas Amis.[1]


McCauley arrived in Huntsville a few months before the Space Age and Wernher von Braun. McCauley was assigned to cover Madison County and Huntsville municipal affairs and the adjacent south Tennessee area. He reported on the boll weevil destroying cotton plants, labor discord in textile mills where workers received extremely low wages, the transformation of the Redstone Arsenal from a conventional and chemical weapons center to the assembling of rockets and missiles, the rebuilding of the Huntsville infrastructure, and the formation of the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He also covered the activities of U.S. Senator John Sparkman of Huntsville, the chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the author of public housing legislation.[2] A Madison County sheriff, Oliver McPeters, was impeached in 1953. A new murder case, often unsolved, became an almost common occurrence in Huntsville.[3]

In 1954, he became the assistant director of the Southern Education Reporting Service, based in Nashville, Tennessee, and financed by the Ford Foundation.[4] In this capacity he edited the journal Southern School News, advised researchers and journalists regarding school desegregation, and wrote two books on educational topics. His With All Deliberate Speed, published by Harper and Row, is a collection of essays assessing the three years following the United States Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas of May 17, 1954. The title is taken from a phrase in the court ruling regarding the timetable of desegregation. His other book, Southern Schools: Progress and Problems, is a statistical study of Southern education between 1947 and 1957.[1] While in Nashville, McCauley obtained a Master of Arts degree in Political Science from Vanderbilt University.[4]

In 1959, he returned to newspaper work for the Charlotte News in Charlotte, North Carolina, and in 1960 for The New Orleans Times-Picayune.[4] There, he was director of the New Orleans Jazz Club and edited its journal, The Second Line. After six years in New Orleans, where he had engaged in work toward a Ph.D. at Tulane, he returned to Huntsville to accept the editorship there.[1] The city of 16,000 in 1950 had grown through vast annexation to 140,000 by the middle 1960s. During his long tenure at The Huntsville Times, the publication grew from 40,000 to 65,000 in daily circulation, with 80,000 on Sundays.[4] By then housed in a new plant on South Memorial Parkway, The Times was known in particular for coverage of civil rights issues and activities of the Marshall Space Flight Center. As editor, he soon faced the horror of the Apollo I capsule fire on January 27, 1967, that claimed the lives of astronauts Gus Grissom, Roger B. Chaffee, and Ed White. Saturn V was underway from 1966 to 1973; the moon landing was less than three years away. Boeing left and returned to operate in Huntsville.[3]

In 2012, long after McCauley's retirement, The Huntsville Times faced declining revenue and subscriptions and reduced daily publication to three times per week. Coincidentally, the same kind of changes for identical reasons impacted McCauley's former employer, The New Orleans Times-Picayune.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

McCauley was a board member for thirty years and a president of the board of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. He was active in the Huntsville Literary Association and sat on the governing boards of the local Arts Council and the Historic Huntsville Foundation.[4] He was a contributing author to the Historic Huntsville Quarterly of Local Architecture and Preservation.[6] McCauley served on the ethics committee of Huntsville Hospital and the Liberal Arts Advisory Committee at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He was president of the parish council of St. Mary of the Visitation Catholic Church in Huntsville. At the time of his retirement, McCauley was the vice president of the Alabama Press Association and was slated as its president for 1994-1995. He served on the APA board for twenty years, in which position he was involved in a campaign to improve journalism education. He was active too in the American Society of News Editors.[4] He often entertained friends at his home and mastered Cajun cuisine.[1]

McCauley died at the age of eighty-seven in Huntsville. Among his survivors was a cousin, Emile Peter Oestriecher, III (born November 1938),[7] of Alexandria, Louisiana. After Catholic services at his church, he was interred alongside is wife, the former Imogene Morgan (1924–2004), at Eva Cemetery in her native Eva south of Huntsville in Morgan County, Alabama.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Patrick McCauley". Alexandria Town Talk. April 16, 2015.
  2. ^ John Sparkman ran for vice president in 1952 with Adlai Stevenson, II, opposite the Republican Eisenhower-Nixon slate. Stevenson-Sparkman won Alabama's then eleven electoral votes.
  3. ^ a b "Patrick Earl McCauley". The Huntsville Times. April 14, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Emily Featherston (May 5, 2015). "Patrick Earl McCauley". Alabama Press Association. Archived from the original on May 22, 2015. Retrieved May 17, 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^ "Alabama Media Group, a new digitally focused company, will launch this fall with expanded online coverage and enhanced three-day-a-week newspapers". May 24, 2012. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  6. ^ "Historic Huntsville Quarterly of Local Architecture and Preservation" (PDF). Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  7. ^ "Emile Oestriecher, November 1938". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved June 29, 2015.[permanent dead link]